Title Image - Quotes by Author Joan Didion

Quotes by Joan Didion (Page 2 of 2)



Quote: I lead a very conventional life. I don't lead a writer's life. And I think that can be a source of suspicion and irritation to some people. This was more true when I was living in California, when I didn't lead a writer's life at all. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I lead a very conventional life. I don't lead a writer's life. And I think that can be a source of suspicion and irritation to some people. This was more true when I was living in California, when I didn't lead a writer's life at all.


Quote: Nothing I read about grief seemed to exactly express the craziness of it; which was the interesting aspect of it to me -- how really tenuous our sanity is. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Nothing I read about grief seemed to exactly express the craziness of it; which was the interesting aspect of it to me -- how really tenuous our sanity is.


Quote: We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices.


Quote: We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the 'ideas' with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience. 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, by the 'ideas' with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.


Quote: Although a novel takes place in the larger world, there's always some drive in it that is entirely personal -- even if you don't know it while you're doing it. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Although a novel takes place in the larger world, there's always some drive in it that is entirely personal -- even if you don't know it while you're doing it.


Quote: Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing. 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 Joan Didion quote: Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing. 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.- black text on quotes background

Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing. 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: I start a book and I want to make it perfect, want it to turn every color, want it to be the world. Ten pages in, I've already blown it, limited it, made it less, marred it. That's very discouraging. I hate the book at that point. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I start a book and I want to make it perfect, want it to turn every color, want it to be the world. Ten pages in, I've already blown it, limited it, made it less, marred it. That's very discouraging. I hate the book at that point.


Quote: What's so hard about that first sentence is that you're stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you've laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

What's so hard about that first sentence is that you're stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you've laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone.


Quote: I am always writing to myself. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I am always writing to myself.


Quote: I'm not very interested in people. I recognize it in myself -- there is a basic indifference toward people. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I'm not very interested in people. I recognize it in myself -- there is a basic indifference toward people.


Quote: Strength is one of those things you're supposed to have. You don't feel that you have it at the time you're going through it. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Strength is one of those things you're supposed to have. You don't feel that you have it at the time you're going through it.


Quote: I was raised an Episcopalian. And I did not and I don't believe that anyone is looking out for me personally. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I was raised an Episcopalian. And I did not and I don't believe that anyone is looking out for me personally.


Quote: I do have a strong sense of an order in the universe. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I do have a strong sense of an order in the universe.


Quote: One of the things that happens to people in grief is they secretly think they're crazy, because they realize they are thinking things that don't make sense. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

One of the things that happens to people in grief is they secretly think they're crazy, because they realize they are thinking things that don't make sense.


Quote: You think you have some stable talent that 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. Gradually, gradually you gain that confidence. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

You think you have some stable talent that 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. Gradually, gradually you gain that confidence.


Quote: Memories are what you no longer want to remember. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Memories are what you no longer want to remember.


Quote: I'm not sure I have the physical strength to undertake a novel. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I'm not sure I have the physical strength to undertake a novel.


Quote: I could talk more directly in a nonfiction voice than I could in fiction. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I could talk more directly in a nonfiction voice than I could in fiction.


Quote: My own fantasies of what life would be like at 24 tended to the more spectacular. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

My own fantasies of what life would be like at 24 tended to the more spectacular.


Quote: I never had much interest in being a child. As a way of being it seemed flat, failed to engage. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I never had much interest in being a child. As a way of being it seemed flat, failed to engage.


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. 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, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself.


Quote: When we start deceiving ourselves into thinking not that we want something... but that it is a moral imperative that we have it, that is when we join the fashionable madmen. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

When we start deceiving ourselves into thinking not that we want something... but that it is a moral imperative that we have it, that is when we join the fashionable madmen.


Quote: I've never been keen on open adoption. It doesn't seem to solve the main problem with adoption, which is that somebody feels she was abandoned by someone else. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I've never been keen on open adoption. It doesn't seem to solve the main problem with adoption, which is that somebody feels she was abandoned by someone else.


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. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with 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.


Quote: I lead a very conventional life. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I lead a very conventional life.


Quote: I don't lead a writer's life. And I think that can be a source of suspicion and irritation to some people. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I don't lead a writer's life. And I think that can be a source of suspicion and irritation to some people.


Quote: The minute you start putting words on paper you're eliminating possibilities. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The minute you start putting words on paper you're eliminating possibilities.


Quote: I wrote stories from the time I was a little girl, but I didn't want to be a writer. I wanted to be an actress. I didn't realize then that it's the same impulse. It's make-believe. It's performance. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I wrote stories from the time I was a little girl, but I didn't want to be a writer. I wanted to be an actress. I didn't realize then that it's the same impulse. It's make-believe. It's performance.


Quote: Quite often you want to tell somebody your dream, your nightmare. Well, nobody wants to hear about someone else's dream, good or bad; nobody wants to walk around with it. The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to the dream. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Quite often you want to tell somebody your dream, your nightmare. Well, nobody wants to hear about someone else's dream, good or bad; nobody wants to walk around with it. The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to the dream.


Quote: Late afternoon on the West Coast ends with the sky doing all its brilliant stuff. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Late afternoon on the West Coast ends with the sky doing all its brilliant stuff.


Quote: It took me a couple of years after I got out of Berkeley before I dared to start writing. That academic mind-set -- which was kind of shallow in my case anyway -- had begun to fade. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

It took me a couple of years after I got out of Berkeley before I dared to start writing. That academic mind-set -- which was kind of shallow in my case anyway -- had begun to fade.


Quote: I was no longer, if I had ever been, afraid to die: I was now afraid not to die. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I was no longer, if I had ever been, afraid to die: I was now afraid not to die.


Quote: I no longer want reminders of what was, what got broken, what got lost, what got wasted. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I no longer want reminders of what was, what got broken, what got lost, what got wasted.


Quote: I hadn't thought that I was generally a pack rat, but it turns out I am. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I hadn't thought that I was generally a pack rat, but it turns out I am.


Quote: You had to feel the swell change. You had to go with the change. He told me that. No eye is on the sparrow but he did tell me that. 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. He told me that. No eye is on the sparrow but he did tell me that.


Quote: I have never started a novel -- I mean except the first, when I was starting a novel just to start a novel -- I've never written one without rereading Victory. It opens up the possibilities of a novel. It makes it seem worth doing. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I have never started a novel -- I mean except the first, when I was starting a novel just to start a novel -- I've never written one without rereading Victory. It opens up the possibilities of a novel. It makes it seem worth doing.


Quote: Of course, you always think about how it will be read. I always aim for a reading in one sitting. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Of course, you always think about how it will be read. I always aim for a reading in one sitting.


Quote: Once I get over maybe a hundred pages, I won't go back to page one, but I might go back to page fifty-five, or twenty, even. But then every once in a while I feel the need to go to page one again and start rewriting. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Once I get over maybe a hundred pages, I won't go back to page one, but I might go back to page fifty-five, or twenty, even. But then every once in a while I feel the need to go to page one again and start rewriting.


Quote: When I'm working on a book, I constantly retype my own sentences. Every day I go back to page one and just retype what I have. It gets me into a rhythm. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

When I'm working on a book, I constantly retype my own sentences. Every day I go back to page one and just retype what I have. It gets me into a rhythm.


Quote: Writing fiction is for me a fraught business, an occasion of daily dread for at least the first half of the novel, and sometimes all the way through. The work process is totally different from writing nonfiction. You have to sit down every day and make it up. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Writing fiction is for me a fraught business, an occasion of daily dread for at least the first half of the novel, and sometimes all the way through. The work process is totally different from writing nonfiction. You have to sit down every day and make it up.


Quote: Ask anyone committed to Marxist analysis how many angels dance 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. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Ask anyone committed to Marxist analysis how many angels dance 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.


Quote: Writers are always selling somebody out. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Writers are always selling somebody out.


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. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with 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.


Quote: Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought? by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?


Quote: You have to pick the places you don't walk away from. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

You have to pick the places you don't walk away from.


Quote: Was there ever in anyone's life span a point free in time, devoid of memory, a night when choice was any more than the sum of all the choices gone before? by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Was there ever in anyone's life span a point free in time, devoid of memory, a night when choice was any more than the sum of all the choices gone before?


Quote: A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.


Quote: Of course great hotels have always been social ideas, flawless mirrors to the particular societies they service. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Of course great hotels have always been social ideas, flawless mirrors to the particular societies they service.


Quote: We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. 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.


Quote: 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 photo of author Joan Didion with quote

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: Self-respect is a question of recognizing that anything worth having has a price. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Self-respect is a question of recognizing that anything worth having has a price.


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. 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.


Quote: I'm totally in control of this tiny, tiny world right there at the typewriter. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I'm totally in control of this tiny, tiny world right there at the typewriter.


Quote: Once in a while, when I first started to write pieces, I would try to write to a reader other than myself. I always failed. I would freeze up. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Once in a while, when I first started to write pieces, I would try to write to a reader other than myself. I always failed. I would freeze up.


Quote: Nonfiction is more personal for me. It's more personal in that it's more direct, and actually it's always been more direct, even when I first started doing pieces. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Nonfiction is more personal for me. It's more personal in that it's more direct, and actually it's always been more direct, even when I first started doing pieces.


Quote: Hemingway was really early. I probably started reading him when I was just eleven or twelve. There was just something magnetic to me in the arrangement of those sentences. Because they were so simple -- or rather they appeared to be so simple, but they weren't. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Hemingway was really early. I probably started reading him when I was just eleven or twelve. There was just something magnetic to me in the arrangement of those sentences. Because they were so simple -- or rather they appeared to be so simple, but they weren't.






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. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with 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.


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: 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

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


Quote: Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.


Quote: I don't think anybody feels like they're a good parent. Or if people think they're good parents, they ought to think again. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I don't think anybody feels like they're a good parent. Or if people think they're good parents, they ought to think again.


Quote: To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves -- there lies the great, singular power of self-respect. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves -- there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.


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. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with 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.


Quote: Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.


Quote: I have always wanted a swimming pool and never had one. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

I have always wanted a swimming pool and never had one.




Quote: In Brentwood we had a big safe-deposit box to put manuscripts in if we left town during fire season. It was such a big box that we never bothered to clean it out. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

In Brentwood we had a big safe-deposit box to put manuscripts in if we left town during fire season. It was such a big box that we never bothered to clean it out.


Quote: The clothes chosen for me as a child had a strong element of the Pre-Raphaelite, muted greens and ivories, dusty rose, what seems in retrospect an eccentric amount of black. by author Joan Didion overlaid on photo of photo of author Joan Didion with quote

The clothes chosen for me as a child had a strong element of the Pre-Raphaelite, muted greens and ivories, dusty rose, what seems in retrospect an eccentric amount of black.




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