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Joan Didion Quotes
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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: “It’s not you. It’s anyone. Sometimes I don’t want anyone around. Some afternoons I lie on my bed and the light comes through the shutters on the floor and I think I never want to leave my own room.”
Joan Didion Quote: “More than anyone else in the society, these men had apparently dreamed the dream and made it work. And what they did then was to build a place which seems to illustrate, as in a child’s primer, that the production ethic led step by step to unhappiness, to restrictiveness, to entrapment in the mechanics of living.”
Joan Didion Quote: “She was the right girl at the right time. She had only a small repertory of Child ballads, never trained her pure soprano and annoyed some purists because she was indifferent to the origins of her material and sang everything ‘sad’.”
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: “I think I have never known anyone who led quite unexamined a life.”
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: “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 all remember what we need to remember.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I can’t imagine writing if I didn’t have a reader. Any more than an actor can imagine acting without an audience.”
Joan Didion Quote: “No one should ever be forced upon those in grief, and all over-emotional people, no matter how near or dear, should be barred absolutely.”
Joan Didion 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.”
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: “Make a place available to the eyes, and in certain ways it is no longer available to the imagination.”
Joan Didion Quote: “About the cathouse: the notion that an accepted element in the social order is a whorehouse goes hand in hand with the woman on a pedestal.”
Joan Didion Quote: “How could this have happened when everything was normal?”
Joan Didion Quote: “For forty years I saw myself thru John’s eyes. I did not age.”
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: “In fact I had no idea how to be a wife.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Sometime in the night she had moved into a realm of miseries peculiar to women, and she had nothing to say to Carter.”
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: “I went because I was interested in the alchemy of issues.”
Joan Didion 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.”
Joan Didion Quote: “If you aren’t aware of the reader, you’re working in a vacuum.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I was no longer, if I had ever been, afraid to die: I was now afraid not to die.”
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: “There must be times when everybody writes when they feel they’re evading writing.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Death,” he wrote, “so omnipresent in the past that it was familiar, would be effaced, would disappear. It would become shameful and forbidden.”
Joan Didion Quote: “New people could be seen, by people like my grandfather, as indifferent to everything that had made California work, but the ambiguity was this: new people were also who were making California rich.”
Joan Didion Quote: “You have to make sure you have the characters you want. That’s really the most complicated part.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I could talk more directly in a nonfiction voice than I could in fiction.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Until now I had been able only to grieve, not mourn. Grief was passive. Grief happened.”
Joan Didion Quote: “In theory these mementos 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.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I had only some dim and unformed sense, a sense which struck me now and then, and which I could not explain coherently, that for some years the South and particularly the Gulf Coast had been for America what people were still saying California was, and what California seemed to me not to be: the future, the secret source of malevolent and benevolent energy, the psychic center.”
Joan Didion Quote: “The devastation along the Gulf had an inevitability about it: the coast was reverting to its natural state.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Just an ordinary day. “And then – gone.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Someone who lives always with a plane schedule in the drawer lives on a slightly different calendar.”
Joan Didion Quote: “The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people,” she said. “The hardest is with one.”
Joan Didion Quote: “What these men represented was not ‘The West’ but what was for this century a relatively new kind of monied class in America, a group devoid of social responsibilities because their ties to any one place had been so attenuated.”
Joan Didion Quote: “That Episcopal day school Marin attended from the age of four until she entered Berkeley had as its aim “the development of a realistic but optimistic attitude,” and it was characteristic of Charlotte that whenever the phrase “realistic but optimistic” appeared in a school communique she read it as “realistic and optimistic.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Before I’d written movies, I never could do big set-piece scenes with a lot of different speakers – when you’ve got twelve people around a dinner table talking at cross purposes. I had always been impressed by other people’s ability to do that.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Somehow writing has always seemed to me to have an element of performance.”
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 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: “Out under the pepper trees the boys from the Mexican crew sat around sucking caramels, and down the road some of the technical men sat around a place which served a stuffed lobster and a glass of tequila for one dollar American, but it was inside the cavernous empty commissary where the talent sat around, the reasons for the exercise, all sitting around the big table picking at huevos con queso and Carta Blanca beer.”
Joan Didion Quote: “After a while there were no more tule fogs at dawn and all Charlotte wanted was one night that did not end badly.”
Joan Didion Quote: “It was in fact the ordinary nature of everything preceding the event that prevented me from truly believing it had happened, absorbing it, incorporating it, getting past it.”
Joan Didion Quote: “The death of a parent, he wrote, ’despite our preparation, indeed, despite our age, dislodges things deep in us, sets off reactions that surprise us and that may cut free memories and feelings that we had thought gone to ground long ago...”
Joan Didion Quote: “I cannot count the days on which I found myself driving abruptly blinded by tears.”
Joan Didion 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.”
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