Joan Didion Quotes (Don't Undervalue Yourself or What You are) : Current School News

Joan Didion Quotes (Don’t Undervalue Yourself or What You are)

Filed in Quote by on August 18, 2022

American author Joan Didion quotes were born in 1934 in Sacramento, California. Joan’s early years were marked by instability and frequent moving due to her father’s Army employment.

Joan Didion Quotes

Joan Didion Quotes

Enjoy these Joan Didion quotes for an insight into her life.

1. “A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.” ― Joan Didion,

2. “Grammar is a piano I play by ear.” ― Joan Didion

3. “Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.” ― Joan Didion

4. “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” ― Joan Didion,

5. “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

6. “Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.” ― Joan Didion

7. “You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.” ― Joan Didion

8. “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

9. “Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.” ― Joan Didion

10. “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.” ― Joan Didion

11. “Do not whine… Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.” ― Joan Didion,

12. “Memory fades, memory adjusts, memory conforms to what we think we remember.” ― Joan Didion

13. “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

14. 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

15. Late afternoon on the West Coast ends with the sky doing all its brilliant stuff. – Joan Didion

16. You aren’t sure if you’re making the right decision – about anything, ever. – Joan Didion

17. We imagine things – that we wouldn’t be able to survive, but in fact, we do survive. We have no choice, so we do it. – Joan Didion

18. It kills me when people talk about California hedonism. Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento. – Joan Didion

19. New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself. – Joan Didion

20. The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs. – Joan Didion

21. Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought? – Joan Didion

22. 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. – Joan Didion

23. To believe in ‘the greater good’ is to operate, necessarily, in a certain ethical suspension. – Joan Didion

24. I couldn’t give away my husband’s shoes. I could give away other things, but the shoes – I don’t know what it was about the shoes, but a lot of people have mentioned to me that shoes took on more meaning than we generally think they do… their attachment to the ground, I don’t know – but that did have a real resonance for me. – Joan Didion

25. 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

26. 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. – Joan Didion

Joan Didion Quotes about Writing

27. 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

28. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. – Joan Didion

29. It was clear, for example, in 1988 that the political process had already become perilously remote from the electorate it was meant to represent. – Joan Didion

30. “Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it.” – Joan Didion

31. “Do not whine…Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.” – Joan Didion

32. “There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.” – Joan Didion

Joan Didion Quotes

33. “Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.” – Joan Didion

34. “Aging and its evidence remain life’s most predictable events, yet they also remain matters we prefer to leave unmentioned, unexplored.” – Joan Didion

35. “One man’s loose cannon is another’s freedom fight, or, in the local phrase, a man of action, or man of valor.” – Joan Didion

36. “The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.” — Joan Didion

37. “Time is the school in which we learn” ― Joan Didion

38. “Writers are always selling somebody out.” ― Joan Didion

39. “Why do you always have to be right. Why do you always have to have the last word. For once in your life just let it go.” ― Joan Didion,

40. “I know what “nothing” means, and keep on playing.” ― Joan Didion

41. “I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be…” ― Joan Didion


43. “I mean maybe I was holding all the aces, but what was the game?” ― Joan Didion Quotes

44. “There was a level on which I believed that what had happened remained reversible” ― Joan Didion

45. “I am what I am. To look for reasons is beside the point.” ― Joan Didion

46. “The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past.” ― Joan Didion

47. “Everything goes. I am working very hard at not thinking about how everything goes.” ― Joan Didion

48. “I wanted to get the tears out of the way so I could act sensibly.” ― Joan Didion

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

50. “The fear is for what is still to be lost.” – Joan Didion Quotes

51. Memories are what you no longer want to remember. – Joan Didion

52. 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. – Joan Didion

53. I’m not very interested in people. I recognize it in myself – there is a basic indifference toward people. – Joan Didion

54. 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

55. 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. – Joan Didion

56. Not much about California, on its own preferred terms, has encouraged its children to see themselves as connected to one another. – Joan Didion

Joan Didion Quotes on Life

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

58. 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. – Joan Didion

Joan Didion

59. I don’t lead a writer’s life. And I think that can be a source of suspicion and irritation to some people. – Joan Didion

60. 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. – Joan Didion

61. 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. – Joan Didion

62. 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. – Joan Didion

63. You can throw a novel into focus with one overheard line. – Joan Didion

64. I have a theatrical temperament. I’m not interested in the middle road – maybe because everyone’s on it. Rationality, reasonableness bewilder me. – Joan Didion

65. When I went to San Francisco in that cold late spring of 1967, I did not even know what I wanted to find out, and so I just stayed around a while and made a few friends. – Joan Didion

66. 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

67. Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant. – Joan Didion

68. Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power. – Joan Didion

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

70. 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


71. “I, myself, have always found that if I examine something, it’s less scary.”  Joan Didion,

72. “The fear is not for what is lost. What is lost is already in the wall. The fear is for what is still to be lost.” Joan Didion

73. “As I sit on the folding metal chair I begin to fear getting up. As the finale approaches, I experience outright panic. What if my feet no longer move? What if my muscles lock?” Joan Didion,

74. I do have a strong sense of an order in the universe. – Joan Didion

75. 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. – Joan Didion

76. 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

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

78. 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? – Joan Didion

79. I was raised an Episcopalian. And I did not and I don’t believe that anyone is looking out for me personally. – Joan Didion

80. The truth is, it’s easier for me to write than talk… to express the state I’m in at any time. – Joan Didion

81. The 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. – Joan Didion

82. The minute you start putting words on paper you’re eliminating possibilities. – Joan Didion

83. 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. – Joan Didion

84. I never had faith that the answers to human problems lay in anything that could be called political. I thought the answers, if there were answers, lay someplace in man’s soul. – Joan Didion

85. 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. – Joan Didion

Joan Didion is an excellent illustration of someone who used their situation to their advantage. Never consider your knowledge and expertise to be worthless. Don’t undervalue yourself or what you are, and you might be able to use your experiences to launch a successful career like Joan Didion.

Thanks for checking out these amazing Joan Didion quotes! Don’t forget to take a look at our similar collection of quotes as you share to others to get inspire.

CSN Team.

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