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Quotes by Joan Didion

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Wikipedia Summary for Joan Didion

Joan Didion (born December 5, 1934) is an American writer who launched her career in the 1960s after winning an essay contest sponsored by Vogue magazine. Her writing during the 1960s through the late 1970s engaged audiences in the realities of the counterculture of the '60s and the Hollywood lifestyle. Her political writing often concentrated on the subtext of political and social rhetoric. In 1991, she wrote the earliest mainstream media article to suggest the Central Park Five had been wrongfully convicted. In 2005, she won the National Book Award for Nonfiction and was a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography for The Year of Magical Thinking. She later adapted the book into a play, which premiered on Broadway in 2007. In 2017, Didion was profiled in the Netflix documentary The Center Will Not Hold, directed by her nephew Griffin Dunne.

Quote: The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to their dream. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of brown and black butterfly on persons hand
Photo Credit: J. Balla Photography

The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to their dream.


Quote: Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of silver click pen on white paper
Photo Credit: R Mo

Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power.


Quote: Style is character. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Style is character.


Quote: Call me the author. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Call me the author.


Quote: The truth is, it's easier for me to write than talk... to express the state I'm in at any time. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The truth is, it's easier for me to write than talk... to express the state I'm in at any time.


Quote: Nothing is critic-proof. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Nothing is critic-proof.


Quote: Aging and its evidence remain life's most predictable events, yet they also remain matters we prefer to leave unmentioned, unexplored. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Aging and its evidence remain life's most predictable events, yet they also remain matters we prefer to leave unmentioned, unexplored.


Quote: Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.


Quote: Quite simply, I was in love with New York. I do not mean love in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Quite simply, I was in love with New York. I do not mean love in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again.


Quote: I think we are all well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I think we are all well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.


Quote: Character -- the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life -- is the source from which self respect springs. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Character -- the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life -- is the source from which self respect springs.


Quote: She had to have a telephone. There was no one to whom she wanted to talk but she had to have a telephone. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

She had to have a telephone. There was no one to whom she wanted to talk but she had to have a telephone.


Quote: California is a place where...the mind is troubled by some...suspicion that things had better work here, because here,beneath that immense bleached sky, is where we run out of continent. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

California is a place where...the mind is troubled by some...suspicion that things had better work here, because here,beneath that immense bleached sky, is where we run out of continent.


Quote: Character -- the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life -- is the source from which self-respect springs. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Character -- the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life -- is the source from which self-respect springs.


Quote: The past could be jettisoned ... but seeds got carried. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The past could be jettisoned ... but seeds got carried.


Quote: New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and the perishable dream itself. To think of 'living' there was to reduce the miraculous to the mundane; one does not 'live' at Xanadu. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote; white text on black background

New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and the perishable dream itself. To think of 'living' there was to reduce the miraculous to the mundane; one does not 'live' at Xanadu.


Quote: The action is everything, more consuming than sex, more immediate than politics; more important always than the acquisition of money, which is never, for the gambler, the true point of the exercise. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The action is everything, more consuming than sex, more immediate than politics; more important always than the acquisition of money, which is never, for the gambler, the true point of the exercise.


Quote: Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write.


Quote: In theory momentos serve to bring back the moment. In fact they serve only to make clear how inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here. How inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here is something else I could never afford to see. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

In theory momentos serve to bring back the moment. In fact they serve only to make clear how inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here. How inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here is something else I could never afford to see.


Quote: I closed the box and put it in a closet. There is no real way to deal with everything we lose. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I closed the box and put it in a closet. There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.


Quote: No one who has ever passed through an American public high school could have watched William Jefferson Clinton running for office in 1992 and failed to recognize the familiar predatory sexuality of a the provincial adolescent. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

No one who has ever passed through an American public high school could have watched William Jefferson Clinton running for office in 1992 and failed to recognize the familiar predatory sexuality of a the provincial adolescent.


Quote: The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote; white text on black background

The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle.


Quote: Joan Baez was a personality before she was entirely a person, and, like anyone to whom that happens, she is in a sense the hapless victim of what others have seen in her, written about her, wanted her to be and not to be. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Joan Baez was a personality before she was entirely a person, and, like anyone to whom that happens, she is in a sense the hapless victim of what others have seen in her, written about her, wanted her to be and not to be.


Quote: Happiness is,' after all, a consumption ethic. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Happiness is,' after all, a consumption ethic.


Quote: X was a woman with whom I had worked at Vogue. Seductive clouds of cigarette smoke and Chanel No. 5 and imminent disaster had trailed her through the Condé Nast offices, which were then in the Graybar Building. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

X was a woman with whom I had worked at Vogue. Seductive clouds of cigarette smoke and Chanel No. 5 and imminent disaster had trailed her through the Condé Nast offices, which were then in the Graybar Building.


Quote: It occurred to me almost constantly in the South that had I lived there I would have been an eccentric and full of anger, and I wondered what form the anger would have taken. Would I have taken up causes, or would I have simply knifed somebody? by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

It occurred to me almost constantly in the South that had I lived there I would have been an eccentric and full of anger, and I wondered what form the anger would have taken. Would I have taken up causes, or would I have simply knifed somebody?


Quote: I put the word diagnosis in quotes because I have not yet seen that case in which a diagnosis led to a cure, or in fact to any outcome other than a confirmed, and therefore an enforced, debility. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I put the word diagnosis in quotes because I have not yet seen that case in which a diagnosis led to a cure, or in fact to any outcome other than a confirmed, and therefore an enforced, debility.


Quote: We tell ourselves stories in order to live. We live entirely by the impression of a narrative line upon disparate images, the shifting phantasmagoria, which is our actual experience. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

We tell ourselves stories in order to live. We live entirely by the impression of a narrative line upon disparate images, the shifting phantasmagoria, which is our actual experience.


Quote: I did consider marriage and motherhood extreme and doomed commitments. Not out of any experience of them as such, but it was simply the way I looked at things. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I did consider marriage and motherhood extreme and doomed commitments. Not out of any experience of them as such, but it was simply the way I looked at things.


Quote: The devastation along the Gulf had an inevitability about it: the coast was reverting to its natural state. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The devastation along the Gulf had an inevitability about it: the coast was reverting to its natural state.


Quote: The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it.


Quote: My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does.


Quote: People tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does. That is one last thing to remember. Writers are always selling somebody out. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

People tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does. That is one last thing to remember. Writers are always selling somebody out.


Quote: Any compulsion tries to justify itself. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Any compulsion tries to justify itself.


Quote: Something I've always known about the screen is that if it's anything in the world, it's literal. It's so literal that there's a whole lot you can't do because you're stuck with the literalness of the screen. The stage is not literal. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Something I've always known about the screen is that if it's anything in the world, it's literal. It's so literal that there's a whole lot you can't do because you're stuck with the literalness of the screen. The stage is not literal.


Quote: What makes Iago evil? Some people ask. I never ask. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

What makes Iago evil? Some people ask. I never ask.


Quote: That no one dies of migraine seems, to someone deep into an attack, an ambiguous blessing. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

That no one dies of migraine seems, to someone deep into an attack, an ambiguous blessing.


Quote: And I have learned now to live with it, learned when to expect it, how to outwit it, even how to regard it, when it does come, as more friend than lodger. We have reached a certain understanding, my migraine and I. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

And I have learned now to live with it, learned when to expect it, how to outwit it, even how to regard it, when it does come, as more friend than lodger. We have reached a certain understanding, my migraine and I.


Quote: It occurs to me that we allow ourselves to imagine only such messages as we need to survive. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

It occurs to me that we allow ourselves to imagine only such messages as we need to survive.


Quote: You had to feel the swell change. You had to go with the change. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

You had to feel the swell change. You had to go with the change.


Quote: Until now I had been able only to grieve, not mourn. Grief was passive. Grief happened. Mourning, the act of dealing with grief, required attention. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Until now I had been able only to grieve, not mourn. Grief was passive. Grief happened. Mourning, the act of dealing with grief, required attention.


Quote: Mourning has its place but also its limits. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Mourning has its place but also its limits.


Quote: Had my credentials been in order I would never have become a writer. Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write. I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote: Had my credentials been in order I would never have become a writer. Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write. I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.- black text on quotes background

Had my credentials been in order I would never have become a writer. Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write. I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.


Quote: I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be. Otherwise they turn up unannounced. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be. Otherwise they turn up unannounced.


Quote: Grammar is a piano I play by ear. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Grammar is a piano I play by ear.


Quote: It seemed that the marriage had reached the traditional truce, the point at which so many resign themselves to cutting both their losses and their hopes. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

It seemed that the marriage had reached the traditional truce, the point at which so many resign themselves to cutting both their losses and their hopes.


Quote: I think nobody owns the land until their dead are in it. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I think nobody owns the land until their dead are in it.


Quote: Sometimes an actor performs a character, but sometimes an actor just performs. With writing, I don't think it's performing a character, really, if the character you're performing is yourself. I don't see that as playing a role. It's just appearing in public. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Sometimes an actor performs a character, but sometimes an actor just performs. With writing, I don't think it's performing a character, really, if the character you're performing is yourself. I don't see that as playing a role. It's just appearing in public.




Quote: How could this have happened when everything was normal? by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

How could this have happened when everything was normal?


Quote: Everything's going along as usual and then all shit breaks loose. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Everything's going along as usual and then all shit breaks loose.


Quote: I wanted to be an oceanographer, actually. It's a way of going underwater. I've always been interested in how deep it was, you know. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I wanted to be an oceanographer, actually. It's a way of going underwater. I've always been interested in how deep it was, you know.




Quote: I learned early to keep death in my line of sight, keep it under surveillance, keep it on cleared ground and away from any brush where it might coil unnoticed. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I learned early to keep death in my line of sight, keep it under surveillance, keep it on cleared ground and away from any brush where it might coil unnoticed.


Quote: Nor can we know ahead of the fact the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaningless itself. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Nor can we know ahead of the fact the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaningless itself.


Quote: I am a writer. Imagining what someone would say or do comes to me as naturally as breathing. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I am a writer. Imagining what someone would say or do comes to me as naturally as breathing.


Quote: I was relying on a kind of natural transition -- the transitions made by someone who is slightly deranged. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I was relying on a kind of natural transition -- the transitions made by someone who is slightly deranged.




Quote: I don't write for catharsis; I have to write to understand. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I don't write for catharsis; I have to write to understand.


Quote: For however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable I. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

For however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable I.


Quote: Emergency, I continue to believe, is what happens to someone else.
I say that I continue to believe this even as I know that I do not. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Emergency, I continue to believe, is what happens to someone else.
I say that I continue to believe this even as I know that I do not.


Quote: Above all, she is the girl who 'feels' things, who has hung on to the freshness and pain of adolescence, the girl ever wounded, ever young. Now, at an age when the wounds begin to heal whether one wants them to or not, Joan Baez rarely leaves the Carmel Valley. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Above all, she is the girl who 'feels' things, who has hung on to the freshness and pain of adolescence, the girl ever wounded, ever young. Now, at an age when the wounds begin to heal whether one wants them to or not, Joan Baez rarely leaves the Carmel Valley.


Quote: I mean maybe I was holding all the aces, but what was the game? by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I mean maybe I was holding all the aces, but what was the game?


Quote: Anything worth having has its price. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Anything worth having has its price.


Quote: The impulse for much writing is homesickness. You are trying to get back home, and in your writing you are invoking that home, so you are assuaging the homesickness. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The impulse for much writing is homesickness. You are trying to get back home, and in your writing you are invoking that home, so you are assuaging the homesickness.


Quote: Becoming a parent is actually terrifying. A lot of people have that feeling about their dogs. And if you're the kind of person who's going to have that feeling about a dog you're definitely going to have that about a child. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Becoming a parent is actually terrifying. A lot of people have that feeling about their dogs. And if you're the kind of person who's going to have that feeling about a dog you're definitely going to have that about a child.


Quote: I have an investment in not being crazy. I have a real investment in seeing things straight. This runs counter to that investment, so it required giving up an idea of myself, the idea being that I had control. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I have an investment in not being crazy. I have a real investment in seeing things straight. This runs counter to that investment, so it required giving up an idea of myself, the idea being that I had control.


Quote: Burroughs's voice is hard, derisive, inventive, free, funny, serious, poetic, indelibly American. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Burroughs's voice is hard, derisive, inventive, free, funny, serious, poetic, indelibly American.


Quote: I've always been fascinated with marine geography and how deep things are. I was spellbound by the tsunami, for example, by the actual maps. There is just something about the unseen bottom of the sea that has always fascinated me, how deep is it. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I've always been fascinated with marine geography and how deep things are. I was spellbound by the tsunami, for example, by the actual maps. There is just something about the unseen bottom of the sea that has always fascinated me, how deep is it.


Quote: I know why we try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us. I also know that if we are to live ourselves there comes a point at which we must relinquish the dead, let them go, keep them dead. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I know why we try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us. I also know that if we are to live ourselves there comes a point at which we must relinquish the dead, let them go, keep them dead.


Quote: I've come to a much more controlled idea about death and loss, but I don't think it's possible to come to that much more controlled idea until you've gone through the crazy part ... I don't mean that I'm controlled. I mean that I gave up the idea that I had control. That's the new control. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote: I've come to a much more controlled idea about death and loss, but I don't think it's possible to come to that much more controlled idea until you've gone through the crazy part ... I don't mean that I'm controlled. I mean that I gave up the idea that I had control. That's the new control.- black text on quotes background

I've come to a much more controlled idea about death and loss, but I don't think it's possible to come to that much more controlled idea until you've gone through the crazy part ... I don't mean that I'm controlled. I mean that I gave up the idea that I had control. That's the new control.




Quote: To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is, a dissatisfaction with self, an impossible claim that one should be at once Rose Bowl princess, medieval scholar, Saint Joan, Milly Theale, Temple Drake, Eleanor of Aquitaine, one. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is, a dissatisfaction with self, an impossible claim that one should be at once Rose Bowl princess, medieval scholar, Saint Joan, Milly Theale, Temple Drake, Eleanor of Aquitaine, one.


Quote: Everybody who undergoes a death and finds themselves grieving is obsessed with -- or maybe overly focused on -- the idea that they can't display self-pity, they have to be strong. Actually there are a lot of reasons why you are going to feel sorry for yourself, but that's your first concern. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote: Everybody who undergoes a death and finds themselves grieving is obsessed with -- or maybe overly focused on -- the idea that they can't display self-pity, they have to be strong. Actually there are a lot of reasons why you are going to feel sorry for yourself, but that's your first concern.- black text on quotes background

Everybody who undergoes a death and finds themselves grieving is obsessed with -- or maybe overly focused on -- the idea that they can't display self-pity, they have to be strong. Actually there are a lot of reasons why you are going to feel sorry for yourself, but that's your first concern.




Quote: A doctor to whom I occasionally talk suggest that I have made an inadequate adjustment to aging.
Wrong, I want to say.
In fact I have made no adjustment whatsoever to aging.
In fact I had lived my entire life to date without seriously believing that I would age. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

A doctor to whom I occasionally talk suggest that I have made an inadequate adjustment to aging.
Wrong, I want to say.
In fact I have made no adjustment whatsoever to aging.
In fact I had lived my entire life to date without seriously believing that I would age.


Quote: I ... have another cup of coffee with my mother. We get along very well, veterans of a guerrilla war we never understood. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I ... have another cup of coffee with my mother. We get along very well, veterans of a guerrilla war we never understood.


Quote: Everyone was in scrubs. I noticed one man who was not in scrubs. Is this the wife, he said to the driver. Then he looked at me. I'm your social worker. And I guess that was when I knew.
That's something else to remember. If they give you a social worker, you're in trouble. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote; white text on black background

Everyone was in scrubs. I noticed one man who was not in scrubs. Is this the wife, he said to the driver. Then he looked at me. I'm your social worker. And I guess that was when I knew.
That's something else to remember. If they give you a social worker, you're in trouble.


Quote: This happened on December 30, 2003. That may seem a while ago but it won't when it happens to you.
And it will happen to you. The details will be different, but it will happen to you.
That's what I'm here to tell you. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

This happened on December 30, 2003. That may seem a while ago but it won't when it happens to you.
And it will happen to you. The details will be different, but it will happen to you.
That's what I'm here to tell you.


Quote: Most death now happens in hospitals. It's been medicalized. It happens away from where we deal with it directly. And that's a huge change. At the beginning of the 20th century most people died at home. Death was much more common. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Most death now happens in hospitals. It's been medicalized. It happens away from where we deal with it directly. And that's a huge change. At the beginning of the 20th century most people died at home. Death was much more common.


Quote: Why did I think that this improvisation could never end? If I had seen that it could, what would I have done differently? What would he? by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Why did I think that this improvisation could never end? If I had seen that it could, what would I have done differently? What would he?


Quote: It's just a deep pleasure to read something you've written yourself -- if and when you like it. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

It's just a deep pleasure to read something you've written yourself -- if and when you like it.


Quote: Vegas is the most extreme and allegorical of American settlements, bizarre and beautiful in its venality and in its devotion to immediate gratification. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Vegas is the most extreme and allegorical of American settlements, bizarre and beautiful in its venality and in its devotion to immediate gratification.


Quote: Why do you always have to be right. Why do you always have to have the last word. For once in your life just let it go. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Why do you always have to be right. Why do you always have to have the last word. For once in your life just let it go.


Quote: That was the year, my twenty-eighth, when I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every mistake, every word, all of it. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

That was the year, my twenty-eighth, when I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every mistake, every word, all of it.




Quote: The fear is for what is still to be lost. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The fear is for what is still to be lost.


Quote: I know what the fear is. The fear is not for what is lost. What is lost is already in the wall. What is lost is already behind the locked doors. The fear is for what is still to be lost. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I know what the fear is. The fear is not for what is lost. What is lost is already in the wall. What is lost is already behind the locked doors. The fear is for what is still to be lost.


Quote: I myself love to read those Victorian novels which go on and on, and you don't read them in one sitting. You might read one over the course of a summer, but that isn't what I want to write. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I myself love to read those Victorian novels which go on and on, and you don't read them in one sitting. You might read one over the course of a summer, but that isn't what I want to write.


Quote: Memory fades, memory adjusts, memory conforms to what we think we remember. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Memory fades, memory adjusts, memory conforms to what we think we remember.


Quote: I know why we try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I know why we try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us.


Quote: Read, learn, work it up, go to the literature. Information is control. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Read, learn, work it up, go to the literature. Information is control.


Quote: Grief, when it comes, is nothing we expect it to be. Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Grief, when it comes, is nothing we expect it to be. Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.


Quote: Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it.


Quote: As a writer, even as a child, long before what I wrote began to be published, I developed a sense that meaning itself was resident in the rhythms of words and sentences and paragraphs...The way I write is who I am, or have become. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

As a writer, even as a child, long before what I wrote began to be published, I developed a sense that meaning itself was resident in the rhythms of words and sentences and paragraphs...The way I write is who I am, or have become.


Quote: A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.


Quote: Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.


Quote: New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself. To think of 'living' there was to reduce the miraculous to the mundane; one does not 'live' at Xanadu. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote; white text on black background

New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself. To think of 'living' there was to reduce the miraculous to the mundane; one does not 'live' at Xanadu.


Quote: Once in a while there were things in screenwriting that taught me things for fiction. But there's nothing in screenwriting that teaches you anything for the theater. I'm not sure I've ever fully appreciated before how different a form theater is. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Once in a while there were things in screenwriting that taught me things for fiction. But there's nothing in screenwriting that teaches you anything for the theater. I'm not sure I've ever fully appreciated before how different a form theater is.


Quote: I know something about dread myself, and appreciate the elaborate systems with which some people fill the void, appreciate all the opiates of the people, whether they are as accessible as alcohol and heroin and promiscuity or as hard to come by as faith in God or History. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote; white text on black background

I know something about dread myself, and appreciate the elaborate systems with which some people fill the void, appreciate all the opiates of the people, whether they are as accessible as alcohol and heroin and promiscuity or as hard to come by as faith in God or History.


Quote: It Was Once Suggested to Me that, as an Antidote to Crying, I Put My Head in a Paper Bag. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

It Was Once Suggested to Me that, as an Antidote to Crying, I Put My Head in a Paper Bag.


Quote: When you lose someone, a whole lot of perfectly normal circumstances suddenly take on different meaning. You see it in a different light. You wonder if they knew. I wondered. Doctors have told me that people do have a sense of their own approaching death. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

When you lose someone, a whole lot of perfectly normal circumstances suddenly take on different meaning. You see it in a different light. You wonder if they knew. I wondered. Doctors have told me that people do have a sense of their own approaching death.




Quote: The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past.




Quote: Throw yourself into the convulsions of the world. I'm not telling you to make the world better, because I don't believe progress is necessarily part of the package. I'm just telling you to live in it, to look at it, to witness it. Try and get it. Seize the moment. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Throw yourself into the convulsions of the world. I'm not telling you to make the world better, because I don't believe progress is necessarily part of the package. I'm just telling you to live in it, to look at it, to witness it. Try and get it. Seize the moment.


Quote: Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States.


Quote: I am an anthropologist who lost faith in her own method, who stopped believing that observable activity defined anthropos. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I am an anthropologist who lost faith in her own method, who stopped believing that observable activity defined anthropos.




Quote: I use an IBM Thinkpad. I just use it like a typewriter, but when I started using it in 1987, I thought I won't be able to write anymore, so I thought I'd go back to the typewriter. But you couldn't go back to the typewriter after using the computer. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I use an IBM Thinkpad. I just use it like a typewriter, but when I started using it in 1987, I thought I won't be able to write anymore, so I thought I'd go back to the typewriter. But you couldn't go back to the typewriter after using the computer.


Quote: One of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened before. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

One of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened before.


Quote: Everything goes. I am working very hard at not thinking about how everything goes. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Everything goes. I am working very hard at not thinking about how everything goes.




Quote: We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.


Quote: Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing.




Quote: We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images.




Quote: I was in love with New York. I do not mean 'love' in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and never love anyone quite that way again. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I was in love with New York. I do not mean 'love' in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and never love anyone quite that way again.




Quote: The secret point of money and power in America is neither the things that money can buy nor power for power's sake but absolute personal freedom, mobility, privacy. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The secret point of money and power in America is neither the things that money can buy nor power for power's sake but absolute personal freedom, mobility, privacy.




Quote: On the August night in 1933 when General Gerardo Machado, then president of Cuba, flew out of Havana into exile, he took with him five revolvers, seven bags of gold, and five friends, still in their pajamas. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

On the August night in 1933 when General Gerardo Machado, then president of Cuba, flew out of Havana into exile, he took with him five revolvers, seven bags of gold, and five friends, still in their pajamas.


Quote: You aren't sure if you're making the right decision -- about anything, ever. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

You aren't sure if you're making the right decision -- about anything, ever.


Quote: Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.


Quote: Hand that on parting squeezes your shoulder, salutes the small of your back. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Hand that on parting squeezes your shoulder, salutes the small of your back.


Quote: The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past ... Here is the last stop for all those who come from somewhere else, for all those who drifted away from the cold and the past and the old ways. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past ... Here is the last stop for all those who come from somewhere else, for all those who drifted away from the cold and the past and the old ways.


Quote: Only the survivors of a death are truly left alone. The connections that made up their life -- both the deep connections and the apparently (until they are broken) insignificant connections -- have all vanished. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Only the survivors of a death are truly left alone. The connections that made up their life -- both the deep connections and the apparently (until they are broken) insignificant connections -- have all vanished.


Quote: To believe in'the greater good' isto operate, necessarily, in a certain ethical suspension. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

To believe in'the greater good' isto operate, necessarily, in a certain ethical suspension.


Quote: California is a place in which a boom mentality and a sense of Chekhovian loss meet in uneasy suspension; in which the mind is troubled by some buried but ineradicable suspicion that things better work here, because here, beneath the immense bleached sky,is where we run out of continent. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote: California is a place in which a boom mentality and a sense of Chekhovian loss meet in uneasy suspension; in which the mind is troubled by some buried but ineradicable suspicion that things better work here, because here, beneath the immense bleached sky,is where we run out of continent.- black text on quotes background

California is a place in which a boom mentality and a sense of Chekhovian loss meet in uneasy suspension; in which the mind is troubled by some buried but ineradicable suspicion that things better work here, because here, beneath the immense bleached sky,is where we run out of continent.


Quote: I was four or five, and my mother gave me a big black tablet, because I kept complaining that I was bored. She said, Then write something. Then you can read it. In fact, I had just learned to read, so this was a thrilling kind of moment. The idea that I could write something -- and then read it! by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote: I was four or five, and my mother gave me a big black tablet, because I kept complaining that I was bored. She said, Then write something. Then you can read it. In fact, I had just learned to read, so this was a thrilling kind of moment. The idea that I could write something -- and then read it!- black text on quotes background

I was four or five, and my mother gave me a big black tablet, because I kept complaining that I was bored. She said, Then write something. Then you can read it. In fact, I had just learned to read, so this was a thrilling kind of moment. The idea that I could write something -- and then read it!


Quote: In the absence of a natural disaster we are left again to our own uneasy devices. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

In the absence of a natural disaster we are left again to our own uneasy devices.


Quote: Aging and its evidence remain lifes most predictable events, yet they also remain matters we prefer to leave unmentioned, unexplored. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Aging and its evidence remain lifes most predictable events, yet they also remain matters we prefer to leave unmentioned, unexplored.


Quote: A pool is, for many of us in the West, a symbol not of affluence but of order, of control over the uncontrollable. A pool is water, made available and useful, and is, as such, infinitely soothing to the western eye. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

A pool is, for many of us in the West, a symbol not of affluence but of order, of control over the uncontrollable. A pool is water, made available and useful, and is, as such, infinitely soothing to the western eye.


Quote: I read so ravenously that I would read through whole categories. I was crazy about reading biographies. ... I think biographies are very urgent to children. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I read so ravenously that I would read through whole categories. I was crazy about reading biographies. ... I think biographies are very urgent to children.


Quote: I dealt with it the same way I deal with everything. I just tended my own garden, didn't pay much attention, behaved--I suppose--deviously. I mean I didn't actually let too many people know what I was doing. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I dealt with it the same way I deal with everything. I just tended my own garden, didn't pay much attention, behaved--I suppose--deviously. I mean I didn't actually let too many people know what I was doing.


Quote: My writing is a process of rewriting, of going back and changing and filling in. in the rewriting process you discover what's going on, and you go back and bring it up to that point. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

My writing is a process of rewriting, of going back and changing and filling in. in the rewriting process you discover what's going on, and you go back and bring it up to that point.


Quote: A young woman with long hair and a short white halter dress walks through the casino at the Riviera in Las Vegas at one in the morning. It was precisely this moment that made Play It As It Lays begin to tell itself to me. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

A young woman with long hair and a short white halter dress walks through the casino at the Riviera in Las Vegas at one in the morning. It was precisely this moment that made Play It As It Lays begin to tell itself to me.


Quote: Outside, a ceiling of pearly gray clouds coalesced over Manhattan, and the apartment had grown dark. It just keeps dripping. It's been like this all week, .. Rain would be a relief. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Outside, a ceiling of pearly gray clouds coalesced over Manhattan, and the apartment had grown dark. It just keeps dripping. It's been like this all week, .. Rain would be a relief.


Quote: Time is the school in which we learn. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Time is the school in which we learn.


Quote: Do not whine... Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Do not whine... Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.


Quote: In the South they are convinced that they have bloodied their place with history. In the West we do not believe that anything we do can bloody the land, or change it, or touch it. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

In the South they are convinced that they have bloodied their place with history. In the West we do not believe that anything we do can bloody the land, or change it, or touch it.


Quote: There is always a point in the writing of a piece when I sit in a room literally papered with false starts and cannot put one word after another and imagine that I have suffered a small stroke, leaving me apparently undamaged but actually aphasic. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

There is always a point in the writing of a piece when I sit in a room literally papered with false starts and cannot put one word after another and imagine that I have suffered a small stroke, leaving me apparently undamaged but actually aphasic.


Quote: We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.


Quote: Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true. The tension broke that day. The paranoia was fulfilled. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote: Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true. The tension broke that day. The paranoia was fulfilled.- black text on quotes background

Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true. The tension broke that day. The paranoia was fulfilled.


Quote: The wind shows us how close to the edge we are. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.


Quote: There's a lot of landscape I never would have described if I hadn't been homesick. The impulse was nostalgia. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

There's a lot of landscape I never would have described if I hadn't been homesick. The impulse was nostalgia.


Quote: I tell you this true story just to prove that I can. That my frailty has not yet reached a point at which I can no longer tell a true story. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I tell you this true story just to prove that I can. That my frailty has not yet reached a point at which I can no longer tell a true story.


Quote: California: The west coast of Iowa. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

California: The west coast of Iowa.


Quote: A good part of any day in Los Angeles is spent driving, alone, through streets devoid of meaning to the driver, which is one reason the place exhilarates some people, and floods others with an amorphous unease. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

A good part of any day in Los Angeles is spent driving, alone, through streets devoid of meaning to the driver, which is one reason the place exhilarates some people, and floods others with an amorphous unease.


Quote: It is hard for people who have not lived in Los Angeles to realize how radically the Santa Ana figures in the local imagination. ... The wind shows us how close to the edge we are. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

It is hard for people who have not lived in Los Angeles to realize how radically the Santa Ana figures in the local imagination. ... The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.


Quote: Havana vanities come to dust in Miami. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Havana vanities come to dust in Miami.


Quote: I wanted to get the tears out of the way so I could act sensibly. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I wanted to get the tears out of the way so I could act sensibly.


Quote: I bought new strings of colored lights. This served as a profession of faith in the future. I take the opportunity for such professions where and when I can invent them, since I do not yet actually feel this faith in the future. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I bought new strings of colored lights. This served as a profession of faith in the future. I take the opportunity for such professions where and when I can invent them, since I do not yet actually feel this faith in the future.


Quote: Making judgments on films is in many ways so peculiarly vaporous an occupation that the only question is why, beyond the obvious opportunities for a few lectures fees and a little careerism at a dispiritingly self-limiting level, anyone does it in the first place. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Making judgments on films is in many ways so peculiarly vaporous an occupation that the only question is why, beyond the obvious opportunities for a few lectures fees and a little careerism at a dispiritingly self-limiting level, anyone does it in the first place.




Quote: It is often said that New York is a city for only the very rich and the very poor. It is less often said that New York is also, at least for those of us who came there from somewhere else, a city for only the very young. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

It is often said that New York is a city for only the very rich and the very poor. It is less often said that New York is also, at least for those of us who came there from somewhere else, a city for only the very young.


Quote: New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion.


Quote: Webley Edwards was on the radio, they remember that, and what he said that morning again and again was This is an air raid, take cover, this is the real McCoy. That is not a remarkable thing to say, but it is a remarkable thing to have in one's memory. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Webley Edwards was on the radio, they remember that, and what he said that morning again and again was This is an air raid, take cover, this is the real McCoy. That is not a remarkable thing to say, but it is a remarkable thing to have in one's memory.


Quote: It is hard for me to believe that Cornelius Vanderbilt did not sense, at some point in time, in some dim billiard room of his unconscious, that when he built The Breakers he damned himself. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

It is hard for me to believe that Cornelius Vanderbilt did not sense, at some point in time, in some dim billiard room of his unconscious, that when he built The Breakers he damned himself.


Quote: Remember, never take no cutoffs and hurry along as fast as you can. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Remember, never take no cutoffs and hurry along as fast as you can.


Quote: California is a place in which a boom mentality and a sense of Chekhovian loss meet in uneasy suspension. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

California is a place in which a boom mentality and a sense of Chekhovian loss meet in uneasy suspension.


Quote: Lancaster, California ... that promised land sometimes called 'the west coast of Iowa. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Lancaster, California ... that promised land sometimes called 'the west coast of Iowa.


Quote: Going back to California is not like going back to Vermont, or Chicago; Vermont and Chicago are relative constants, against which one measures one's own change. All that is constant about the California of my childhood is the rate at which it disappears. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Going back to California is not like going back to Vermont, or Chicago; Vermont and Chicago are relative constants, against which one measures one's own change. All that is constant about the California of my childhood is the rate at which it disappears.


Quote: The apparent ease of California life is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion will live here in only the most temporary way. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The apparent ease of California life is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion will live here in only the most temporary way.


Quote: It was the kind of Sunday to make one ache for Monday morning. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

It was the kind of Sunday to make one ache for Monday morning.


Quote: We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. as we were. as we are no longer. as we will one day not be at all. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote; white text on black background

We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. as we were. as we are no longer. as we will one day not be at all.


Quote: To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is, a dissatisfaction with self. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is, a dissatisfaction with self.


Quote: To have that sense of one's intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

To have that sense of one's intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything.


Quote: To have that sense of one's intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote; white text on black background

To have that sense of one's intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference.


Quote: The child trying not to appear as a child, of the strenuousness with which she tried to present the face of a convincing adult. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The child trying not to appear as a child, of the strenuousness with which she tried to present the face of a convincing adult.


Quote: To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed.


Quote: Do not whine… Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Do not whine… Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.


Quote: To believe in 'the greater good' is to operate, necessarily, in a certain ethical suspension. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

To believe in 'the greater good' is to operate, necessarily, in a certain ethical suspension.


Quote: To those of us who remained committed mainly to the exploration of moral distinctions and ambiguities, the feminist analysis may have seemed a particularly narrow and cracked determinism. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

To those of us who remained committed mainly to the exploration of moral distinctions and ambiguities, the feminist analysis may have seemed a particularly narrow and cracked determinism.


Quote: To make an omelette, you need not only those broken eggs but someone 'oppressed' to beat them: every revolutionist is presumed to understand that, and also every woman, which either does or does not make 51 percent of the population of the United States a potentially revolutionary class. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote: To make an omelette, you need not only those broken eggs but someone 'oppressed' to beat them: every revolutionist is presumed to understand that, and also every woman, which either does or does not make 51 percent of the population of the United States a potentially revolutionary class.- black text on quotes background

To make an omelette, you need not only those broken eggs but someone 'oppressed' to beat them: every revolutionist is presumed to understand that, and also every woman, which either does or does not make 51 percent of the population of the United States a potentially revolutionary class.




Quote: In many ways, writing is the act of saying 'I,' of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying, 'Listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.' It's an aggressive, even a hostile act. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

In many ways, writing is the act of saying 'I,' of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying, 'Listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.' It's an aggressive, even a hostile act.


Quote: It was clear, for example, in 1988 that the political process had already become perilously remote from the electorate it was meant to represent. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

It was clear, for example, in 1988 that the political process had already become perilously remote from the electorate it was meant to represent.


Quote: I never think people are too careful with me. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I never think people are too careful with me.


Quote: You can throw a novel into focus with one overheard line. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

You can throw a novel into focus with one overheard line.


Quote: We tell ourselves stories in order to live. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

We tell ourselves stories in order to live.


Quote: My mother 'gave teas' the way other mothers breathed. Her own mother 'gave teas.' All of their friends 'gave teas,' each involving butter cookies extruded from a metal press and pastel bonbons ordered from See's. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

My mother 'gave teas' the way other mothers breathed. Her own mother 'gave teas.' All of their friends 'gave teas,' each involving butter cookies extruded from a metal press and pastel bonbons ordered from See's.


Quote: We imagine things -- that we wouldn't be able to survive, but in fact, we do survive. We have no choice, so we do it. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

We imagine things -- that we wouldn't be able to survive, but in fact, we do survive. We have no choice, so we do it.


Quote: We all survive more than we think we can. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

We all survive more than we think we can.


Quote: New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself.


Quote: When I went to San Francisco in that cold late spring of 1967, I did not even know what I wanted to find out, and so I just stayed around a while and made a few friends. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

When I went to San Francisco in that cold late spring of 1967, I did not even know what I wanted to find out, and so I just stayed around a while and made a few friends.


Quote: A pool is water, made available and useful, and is, as such, infinitely soothing to the western eye. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

A pool is water, made available and useful, and is, as such, infinitely soothing to the western eye.


Quote: The West begins where the average annual rainfall drops below twenty inches. Water is important to people who do not have it, and the same is true of control. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The West begins where the average annual rainfall drops below twenty inches. Water is important to people who do not have it, and the same is true of control.


Quote: The apparent ease of California life is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion real live here in only the most temporary way. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The apparent ease of California life is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion real live here in only the most temporary way.


Quote: Not many people were speaking truth to power in the '80s. I had a really good time doing it -- I found it gratifying. It was a joy to have an opportunity to say what you believed. It's challenging to do it in fiction, but I liked writing the novels. I liked writing 'Democracy' particularly. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote: Not many people were speaking truth to power in the '80s. I had a really good time doing it -- I found it gratifying. It was a joy to have an opportunity to say what you believed. It's challenging to do it in fiction, but I liked writing the novels. I liked writing 'Democracy' particularly.- black text on quotes background

Not many people were speaking truth to power in the '80s. I had a really good time doing it -- I found it gratifying. It was a joy to have an opportunity to say what you believed. It's challenging to do it in fiction, but I liked writing the novels. I liked writing 'Democracy' particularly.


Quote: Not much about California, on its own preferred terms, has encouraged its children to see themselves as connected to one another. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Not much about California, on its own preferred terms, has encouraged its children to see themselves as connected to one another.


Quote: I never had faith that the answers to human problems lay in anything that could be called political. I thought the answers, if there were answers, lay someplace in man's soul. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I never had faith that the answers to human problems lay in anything that could be called political. I thought the answers, if there were answers, lay someplace in man's soul.


Quote: A lot of the stories I was brought up on had to do with extreme actions -- leaving everything behind, crossing the trackless wastes, and in those stories the people who stayed behind and had their settled ways -- those people were not the people who got the prize. The prize was California. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of Joan Didion quote: A lot of the stories I was brought up on had to do with extreme actions -- leaving everything behind, crossing the trackless wastes, and in those stories the people who stayed behind and had their settled ways -- those people were not the people who got the prize. The prize was California.- black text on quotes background

A lot of the stories I was brought up on had to do with extreme actions -- leaving everything behind, crossing the trackless wastes, and in those stories the people who stayed behind and had their settled ways -- those people were not the people who got the prize. The prize was California.


Quote: It kills me when people talk about California hedonism. Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

It kills me when people talk about California hedonism. Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento.


Quote: I have a theatrical temperament. I'm not interested in the middle road -- maybe because everyone's on it. Rationality, reasonableness bewilder me. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I have a theatrical temperament. I'm not interested in the middle road -- maybe because everyone's on it. Rationality, reasonableness bewilder me.


Quote: I can remember, when I was in college, irritating deeply somebody I was going out with, because he would ask me what I was thinking and I would say I was thinking nothing. And it was true. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I can remember, when I was in college, irritating deeply somebody I was going out with, because he would ask me what I was thinking and I would say I was thinking nothing. And it was true.


Quote: I don't really get things very... intuitively. I mean, I don't immediately understand things. The only way I really get it is by writing it down. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I don't really get things very... intuitively. I mean, I don't immediately understand things. The only way I really get it is by writing it down.


Quote: All of these things we do without children, and suddenly we don't do them anymore, and it comes home to us in a real way, that it's very different to have the responsibility of a child. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

All of these things we do without children, and suddenly we don't do them anymore, and it comes home to us in a real way, that it's very different to have the responsibility of a child.


Quote: There's a general impulse to distract the grieving person -- as if you could. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

There's a general impulse to distract the grieving person -- as if you could.


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