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Joan Didion Quotes
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Joan Didion Quote: “I am an anthropologist who lost faith in her own method, who stopped believing that observable activity defined anthropos.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Medicine, I have reason since to notice more than once, remains an imperfect art.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I recognize a lot of the things I’m going through. Like, I lose my temper a lot and I become unhinged and kind of hysterical.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Somewhere between the Yolo Causeway and Vallejo it occurred to me that during the course of any given week I met too many people who spoke favorably about bombing power stations.”
Joan Didion Quote: “We wished them happiness, we wished them health, we wished them love and luck and beautiful children. On that wedding day, July 26, 2003, we could see no reason to think that such ordinary blessings would not come their way. Do notice: We still counted happiness and health and love and luck and beautiful children as “ordinary blessings.”
Joan Didion Quote: “You think you have some stable talent which will show no matter what you’re writing, and if it doesn’t seem to be getting across to the audience once, you can’t imagine that moment when it suddenly will.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Mourning has its place but also its limits.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I wanted to get the tears out of the way so I could act sensibly.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Ask anyone committed to Marxist analysis how many angels on the head of a pin, and you will be asked in return to never mind the angels, tell me who controls the production of pins.”
Joan Didion 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.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I had believed in the logic of popular songs. I had looked for the silver lining. I had walked on through the storm.”
Joan Didion Quote: “It had seemed a funny story as she told it, both that morning by the waterfall and later at dinner, when she repeated it to the photographer and the agency man and the fashion coordinator for the client. Maria tried now to put what happened in Encino into the same spirited perspective, but Ceci Delano’s situation seemed not to apply. In the end it was just a New York story.”
Joan Didion Quote: “The fancy that extraterrestrial life is by definition of a higher order than our own is one that soothes all children, and many writers.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I don’t write for catharsis; I have to write to understand.”
Joan Didion Quote: “It is a good idea, then, to keep in touch, and I suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about.”
Joan Didion Quote: “We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon the disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I think nobody owns the land until their dead are in it.”
Joan Didion Quote: “It is a way of talking that tends to preclude further discussion, which may well be its intention: the public life of liberal Hollywood comprises a kind of dictatorship of good intentions, a social contract in which actual and irreconcilable disagreement is as taboo as failure or bad teeth, a climate devoid of irony.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Did mothers always try to press unto their daughters the itineraries of which they themselves had dreamed. Did I?”
Joan Didion Quote: “When I began writing these pages I believed their subject to be children, the ones we have and the ones we wish we had, the ways in which we depend on our children to depend on us, the ways in which we encourage them to remain children, the ways in which they remain more unknown to us than they do to their more casual acquaintances; the ways in which we remain equally opaque to them.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Carter and Helene still ask questions. I used to ask questions, and I got the answer: nothing. The answer is “nothing.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Someone who lives always with a plane schedule in the drawer lives on a slightly different calendar.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Because the reality of death has not yet penetrated awareness, survivors can appear to be quite accepting of the loss.”
Joan Didion Quote: “You couldn’t pay for her hats,′ her father, a ship’s captain, had told her suitors by way of discouragement, and perhaps they had all been discouraged but my grandfather, an innocent from the Georgetown Divide who read books.”
Joan Didion Quote: “It’s just a deep pleasure to read something you’ve written yourself – if and when you like it.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I always had trouble distinguishing between what happened and what merely might have happened, but I remain unconvinced that the distinction, for my purposes, matters.”
Joan Didion 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.”
Joan Didion Quote: “In some ways it was the conventional clandestine affair in a place like San Bernardino, a place where little is bright or graceful, where it is routine to misplace the future and easy to start looking for it in bed.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Persons under the shock of genuine affliction are not only upset mentally but are all unbalanced physically. No matter how calm and controlled they seemingly may be, no one can under such circumstances be normal. Their disturbed circulation makes them cold, their distress makes them unstrung, sleepless.”
Joan Didion 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.”
Joan Didion Quote: “In both England and the United States, he observed, the contemporary trend was “to treat mourning as morbid self-indulgence, and to give social admiration to the bereaved who hide their grief so fully that no one would guess anything had happened.”
Joan Didion 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.”
Joan Didion Quote: “If the dead were truly to come back, what would they come back knowing? Could we face them? We who allowed them to die?”
Joan Didion Quote: “Until now I had been able only to grieve, not mourn. Grief was passive. Grief happened.”
Joan Didion 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.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I have been looking all my life for history and have yet to find it.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Discussion of how California has ‘changed,’ then, tends locally to define the more ideal California as that which existed at whatever past point the speaker first saw it: Gilroy as it was in the 1960s and Gilroy as it was fifteen years ago and Gilroy as it was when my father and I ate short ribs at the Milias Hotel are three pictures with virtually no overlap, a hologram that dematerializes as I drive through it.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I cannot count the days on which I found myself driving abruptly blinded by tears.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Writers are always selling somebody out.”
Joan Didion Quote: “What you’re normally doing as a writer is trying to find the narrative.”
Joan Didion Quote: “The stories are endless, infinitely familiar, traded by the faithful like baseball cards, fondled until they fray around the edges and blur into the apocryphal.”
Joan Didion Quote: “We might, in that indeterminate period they call mourning, be in a submarine, silent on the ocean’s bed, aware of the depth charges, now near and now far, buffeting us with recollections.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I hadn’t thought that I was generally a pack rat, but it turns out I am.”
Joan Didion Quote: “You have your wonderful memories,” people said later, as if memories were solace. Memories are not. Memories are by definition of times past, things gone. Memories are the Westlake uniforms in the closet, the faded and cracked photographs, the invitations to the weddings of the people who are no longer married, the mass cards from the funerals of the people whose faces you no longer remember. Memories are what you no longer want to remember.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I will not forget the instinctive wisdom of the friend who, every day for those first few weeks, brought me a quart container of scallion-and-ginger congee from Chinatown. Congee I could eat. Congee was all I could eat.”
Joan Didion Quote: “You had to feel the swell change. You had to go with the change.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Just an ordinary day. “And then – gone.”
Joan Didion Quote: “In New Orleans the wilderness is sensed as very near, not the redemptive wilderness of the western imagination but something rank and old and malevolent, the idea of wilderness not as an escape from civilization and its discontents but as a mortal threat to a community precarious and colonial in its deepest aspect. The effect is lively and avaricious and intensely self-absorbed, a tone not uncommon in colonial cities, and the principal reason I find such cities invigorating.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Americans are uneasy with their possessions, guilty about power, all of which is difficult for Europeans to perceive because they are themselves so truly materialistic, so versed in the uses of power.”
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