35+ Joan Didion Quotes From The Thought-Provoking Writer

Joan Didion quotes are perfect summer reads.
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Joan Didion is an American writer, famous for her personal essays.

Joan started her career by winning an essay contest in the 1960s, which Vogue sponsored. She is known for her thoughts on counterculture and Hollywood life of the '60s and '70s.

Didion is a prolific writer; some of her major works include 'The White Album', 'The Year Of Magical Thinking,' 'We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order To Live,' and 'Where Was I From'. Didion also wrote a non-fiction book, 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem' which was a bestseller. Reading Joan Didion's quotes can give you a flavor of her unique and witty writing style.

If you like this, check out Dorothy Parker quotes and Sylvia Plath quotes for quotes from powerful women writers.

Joan Didion 'The Year Of Magical Thinking' Quotes

Joan Didion 'Year Of Magical Thinking' quotes are magical.

‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’ is an autobiographical book by Joan Didion that deals with the year after her husband’s death in 2003. Here are some Joan Didion quotes from the book.

1. “We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

2. “Grief, when it comes, is nothing we expect it to be.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

3. “To the average observer I would have appeared to fully understand that death was irreversible.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

4. “Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

5. “Why did I keep stressing what was and was not normal, when nothing about it was?”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

6. “I know why we try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

7. “Read, learn, work it up, go to the literature. Information is control.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

8. “When my mother was near death at age ninety she told me that she was ready to die but could not. ‘You and Jim need me,’ she said. My brother and I were then in our sixties.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

9. “The distance from our building to the part of New York–Presbyterian that used to be New York Hospital is six crosstown blocks. I have no memory of sirens. I have no memory of traffic.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

10. “The elapsed time indicated that the time spent at New York Hospital had been, as I had thought, just bookkeeping, hospital procedure, the regularization of a death.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

11. “You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

12. “Waiting in the line seemed the constructive thing to do. Waiting in the line said that there was still time to deal with this.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

13. “On December 24, Christmas Eve, I had people for dinner, just as John and I had done on Christmas Eve a year before.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

14. “It occurs to me that we allow ourselves to imagine only such messages as we need to survive.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

15. “I did not always think he was right nor did he always think I was right but we were each the person the other trusted.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

16. “A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’.

Remarkable Joan Didion Quotes

Here are some Joan Didion quotes that you need to write down in your diary. Look out for the Joan Didion ‘Where Was I From’ quotes and Joan Didion ‘Blue Nights’ quotes in this section.

17. “There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘Where I Was From’.

18. “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, ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’.

19. “Terror is the given of the place.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘Salvador’.

20. “Do not whine. Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘Blue Nights’.

21. “Character – the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – is the source from which self-respect springs.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘On Self-Respect’.

22. “Quite often you want to tell somebody your dream, your nightmare. Well, nobody wants to hear about someone else’s dream, good or bad.”

‒ Joan Didion.

23. “Not much about California, on its own preferred terms, has encouraged its children to see themselves as connected to one another.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘Where I Was From’.

24. “You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.”

‒ Joan Didion.

25. “I have another cup of coffee with my mother. We get along very well, veterans of a guerilla war we never understand.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’.

26. “One of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened before.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’.

27. “The fear is for what is still to be lost.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘Blue Nights’.

28. “I am what I am. To look for reasons is beside the point.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘Play It As It Lays’.

29. “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.”

‒ Joan Didion.

30. “As time goes by I think that men who were unable to make choices were more right than those who made them.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘Miami’.

31. “Memory fades, memory adjusts, memory conforms to what we think we remember.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘Blue Nights’.

Joan Didion 'The White Album' Quotes

Joan Didion quotes are remarkable.

‘The White Album’ by Joan Didion can be considered her the most important work that has spread across the world. So, here are some memorable quotes from the book.

32. “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The White Album’.

33. “That no one dies of migraine seems to someone deep in an attack as an ambiguous blessing.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The White Album’.

34. “I went because I was interested in the alchemy of issues.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The White Album’.

35. “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, ‘The White Album’.

36. “Waugh was good at scenes of industrious self-delusion, scenes of people absorbed in odd games.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The White Album’.

37. “Fiction is in most ways hostile to ideology.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The White Album’.

38. “I want you to understand exactly what you are getting: you are getting a woman who for some time now has felt radically separated from most of the ideas that seem to interest other people.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The White Album’.

39. “Should there be marital unhappiness it will go unmentioned until one of the principals is seen lunching with a lawyer.”

‒ Joan Didion, ‘The White Album’.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Joan Didion quotes then why not take a look at Rupi Kaur quotes, or Zora Neale Hurston quotes.

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