Joan Didion quotes

Born
December 5, 1934 Sacramento, California, U.S.

Occupation
Journalist, author.

Joan Didion is an American journalist and writer of novels, screenplays, and autobiographical works. Didion is best known for her literary journalism and memoirs.

We all survive more than we think we can.
– Joan Didion
The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.
– Joan Didion
Late afternoon on the West Coast ends with the sky doing all its brilliant stuff.
– Joan Didion
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.
– Joan Didion
The minute you start putting words on paper you’re eliminating possibilities.
– Joan Didion
Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.
– Joan Didion
You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.
– Joan Didion
I was no longer, if I had ever been, afraid to die: I was now afraid not to die.
– Joan Didion
Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?
– Joan Didion
I do have a strong sense of an order in the universe.
– Joan Didion
Memories are what you no longer want to remember.
– Joan Didion
Of course great hotels have always been social ideas, flawless mirrors to the particular societies they service.
– Joan Didion
The apparent ease of California life is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion real live here in only the most temporary way.
– Joan Didion
The truth is, it’s easier for me to write than talk… to express the state I’m in at any time.
– Joan Didion
Writers are always selling somebody out.
– Joan Didion
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.
– Joan Didion
Self-respect is a question of recognizing that anything worth having has a price.
– Joan Didion
I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 A.M. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.
– Joan Didion
There’s a general impulse to distract the grieving person – as if you could.
– Joan Didion
We tell ourselves stories in order to live.
– Joan Didion
The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to their dream.
– Joan Didion
You aren’t sure if you’re making the right decision – about anything, ever.
– Joan Didion
It kills me when people talk about California hedonism. Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento.
– Joan Didion
I hadn’t thought that I was generally a pack rat, but it turns out I am.
– Joan Didion
Of course, you always think about how it will be read. I always aim for a reading in one sitting.
– Joan Didion
To believe in ‘the greater good’ is to operate, necessarily, in a certain ethical suspension.
– Joan Didion
Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power.
– Joan Didion
To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.
– Joan Didion
I lead a very conventional life.
– Joan Didion
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.
– Joan Didion
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.
– Joan Didion
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.
– Joan Didion
I could talk more directly in a nonfiction voice than I could in fiction.
– Joan Didion
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.
– Joan Didion