Top 100

Top 380 Joan Didion Quotes (2024 Update)
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Joan Didion Quote: “He would say something and she would say something and before either of them knew it they would be playing out a dialogue so familiar that it drained the imagination, blocked the will, allowed them to drop words and whole sentences and still arrive at the cold conclusion.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I suppose everything had changed and nothing had.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Until now I had been able only to grieve, not mourn. Grief was passive. Grief happened.”
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: “I have been looking all my life for history and have yet to find it.”
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: “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: “You had to feel the swell change. You had to go with the change.”
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: “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: “Writers are always selling somebody out.”
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: “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 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: “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: “Yet I was myself in no way prepared to accept this news as final: there was a level on which I believed that what had happened remained reversible. That was why I needed to be alone. After.”
Joan Didion Quote: “They who came to California were not the self-satisfied, happy and content people, but the adventurous, the restless, and the daring. They were different even from those who settled in other western states. They didn’t come west for homes and security, but for adventure and money. They pushed in over the mountains and founded the biggest cities in the west.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I hadn’t thought that I was generally a pack rat, but it turns out I am.”
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: “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: “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: “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: “What you’re normally doing as a writer is trying to find the narrative.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Somehow writing has always seemed to me to have an element of performance.”
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: “All one’s actual apprehension of what it is like to be a woman, the irreconcilable difference of it – that sense of living one’s deepest life underwater, that dark involvement with blood and birth and death – could now be declared in valid, unnecessary, one never felt it at all.”
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.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Perhaps most strikingly of all, it was clear in 1988 that those inside the process had congealed into a permanent political class, the defining characteristic of which was its readiness to abandon those not inside the process.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I do have a strong sense of an order in the universe.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Yet I had always at some level apprehended, because I was born fearful, that some events in life would remain beyond my ability to control or manage them. Some events would just happen.”
Joan Didion Quote: “My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrustive, and so neurotically inarticulate that 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.”
Joan Didion Quote: “So now the girl whose life is a crystal teardrop has her own place, a place where the sun shines and the ambiguities can be set aside a little while longer, a place where everyone can be warm and loving and share confidences.”
Joan Didion Quote: “What seemed novel about the use of focus groups in the 1992 campaign was the increasingly narrow part of the population to which either party was interested in listening, and the extent to which this extreme selectivity had transformed the governing of the country, for most of its citizens, into a series of signals meant for someone else.”
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: “My own fantasies of what life would be like at 24 tended to the more spectacular.”
Joan Didion Quote: “As it happens I am comfortable with the Michael Laskis of this world, with those who live outside rather than in, those in whom the sense of dread is so acute that they turn to extreme and doomed commitments; I know something about dread myself, and appreciate the elaborate systems with which some people manage to 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.”
Joan Didion Quote: “How could this have happened when everything was normal?”
Joan Didion Quote: “To do without self-respect, on the other hand, is to be an unwilling audience of one to an interminable home movie that documents one’s failings, both real and imagined, with fresh footage spliced in for each screening.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I came into adult life equipped with an essentially romantic ethic.”
Joan Didion Quote: “Later those few minutes in the plaza in Oxnard would come back to Maria and she would replay them, change the scenario. It ended that way badly, or well, depending on what you wanted.”
Joan Didion Quote: “When we lose that sense of the possible we lose it fast.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I went because I was interested in the alchemy of issues.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I know what ‘nothing’ means, and I keep on playing. Why, BZ would say. Why not, I say.”
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: “I could talk more directly in a nonfiction voice than I could in fiction.”
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: “Burroughs’s voice is hard, derisive, inventive, free, funny, serious, poetic, indelibly American.”
Joan Didion Quote: “To be a white middle-class child in a small southern town must be on certain levels the most golden way for a child to live in the United States.”
Joan Didion Quote: “I myself have always found that if I examine something, it’s less scary. I grew up in the West, and we always had this theory that if you saw – if you kept the snake in you eye line, the snake wasn’t going to bite you. And that’s kind of way I feel about confronting pain. I want to know where it is.”
Joan Didion 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?”
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