Joan Didion

American writer (1934-2021)

Joan Didion (December 5, 1934December 23, 2021) was an American writer known as a novelist, journalist and prose stylist.

Joan Didion in 2008

Quotes edit

  • The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs.
  • 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?
  • One thing you will note about shopping-center theory is that you could have thought of it yourself, and a course in it will go a long way toward dispelling the notion that business proceeds from mysteries too recondite for you and me.
  • We tell ourselves stories in order to live.
  • 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.
  • In many ways, writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its aggressiveness all you want with veils of subordinate clauses and qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions—with the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather than stating—but there’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space.
    • "Why I Write" (1975)
  • Grammar is a piano I play by ear, since I seem to have been out of school the year the rules were mentioned.
    • "Why I Write" (1975)
  • When I talk about pictures in my mind I am talking, quite specifically, about images that shimmer around the edges.
    • "Why I Write" (1975)

Quotes about Joan Didion edit

  • Her nonfiction is so compelling. She finds exactly the right words that she needs to establish setting and character and not one word more.
  • ("Who are some of the women writers around who are not feminists, who are simply writers, or even doing a disservice to the feminist cause?") I think an example would be Joan Didion. First, I have to say I dislike the word cause. I think she does a disservice to the feminist cause, to any progressive cause, and also to the clarity of language. I've read a couple of her books. I don't know anything about her except she's from California. Well, I mean, so is Tillie. Just goes to show. I think her style is very... sentimental really. And indirect and opaque.
  • with Didion I really just feel moral, political, stylistic differences. People think she's such a great stylist, but I don't. I think she's sentimental. I mean, she doesn't overwrite. She doesn't do that at all. I will say that for her. But I don't like her attitude towards people, you know. I don't think she really illuminates them but darkens them so that we see them less by the time we're through. Maybe in the beginning we see them a little bit but by the end we really don't see them. And I don't think she wants us to. And I think that's a political thing.

External links edit

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