Joan Didion Quotes

Quotes tagged as "joan-didion" (showing 1-9 of 9)
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. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were. I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be…”
joan didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Joan Didion
“Why do we like these stories so? Why do we tell them over and over? Why have we made a folk hero of a man who is the antithesis of all our official heroes, a haunted millionaire out of the West, trailing a legend of desperation and power and white sneakers? But then we have always done that. Our favorite people and our favorite stories become so not by any inherent virtue, but because they illustrate something deep in the grain, something unadmitted. Shoeless Joe Jackson, Warren Gamaliel Harding, The Titanic: how the might are fallen. Charles Lindbergh, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Marilyn Monroe: the beautiful and damned. And Howard Hughes. That we have made a hero of Howard Hughes tells us something interesting about ourselves, something only dimly remembered, tells us that the secret point of money and power in AMerica is neither the things that money can buy nor power for power's sake (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), but absolute personal freedom, mobility, privacy. Is is the instinct which drove America to the Pacific, all through the nineteenth century, the desire to be able to find a restaurant open in case you want a sandwich, to be a free agent, live by one's own rules.”
Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Joan Didion
“She was the right girl at the right time. She had only a small repertory of Child ballads, never trained her pure soprano and annoyed some purists because she was indifferent to the origins of her material and sang everything ‘sad’.”
Joan Didion

Joan Didion
“The center was not holding. It was a country of bankruptcy notices and public-auction announcements and commonplace reports of casual killings and misplaced children and abandoned homes and vandals who misplaced even the four-letter words they scrawled. It was a country in which families routinely disappeared, trailing bad checks and repossession papers. Adolescents drifted from city to torn city, sloughing off both the past and the future as snakes shed their skins, children who were never taught and would never now learn the games that had held the society together. People were missing. Children were missing. Parents were missing. Those left behind filed desultory missing- persons reports, then moved on themselves.”
Joan Didion

Joan Didion
“I am an anthropologist who lost faith in her own method, who stopped believing that observable activity defined anthropos.”
Joan Didion, A Book of Common Prayer

“What I want, and this is what I want for myself and for all of my fellow sad young literary girls, is to be able to read something without it fundamentally altering how you write or read or talk about the things you like, to invite more nuance and more complexity to everything, to over-examine your likes and dislikes and hold them to the highest scrutiny, until you are the thing that stays still in a turning world of people who can keep themselves still as well ["Free Joan Didion," The Awl, January 13, 2015].”
Hailey Mlotek

Joan Didion
“Certain places seem to exist mainly because someone has written about them.”
Joan Didion

Joan Didion
“Carter and Helene still ask questions. I used to ask questions, and I got the answer: nothing. The answer is “nothing.”
Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays

Joan Didion
“Cos’è che rende malvagio Jago? Si chiede certa gente. Io non me lo chiedo mai.
Altro esempio, un esempio che viene in mente perché la signora Burstein stamattina ha visto un serpentello a sonagli tra i carciofi dell’orto e d’allora in poi è stata intrattabile: io non faccio mai domande sui serpenti. Perché il profumo Shalimar dovrebbe attrarre i crotali. Perché una serpe corallo dovrebbe aver bisogno di due ghiandole di veleno neurotossico per sopravvivere, mentre una serpe reale, che le somiglia in modo impressionante, non ne ha assolutamente bisogno. Dov’è andata a finire la logica darwiniana, in questo caso. Si potrebbe chiederselo. Io non me lo chiederei mai, né mi chiederei altro. Ricordo un episodio riportato non molto tempo fa nel Herald Examiner di Los Angeles: due sposini in luna di miele, originari di Detroit, trovati morti nel loro furgone Ford nei pressi di Boca Raton, un serpente corallo ancora arrotolato nella termocoperta. Perché? A meno che non si sia disposti a guardare le cose in una prospettiva più ampia, non ci sono «risposte» soddisfacenti a domande del genere.
Ecco. Io sono quel che sono. La ricerca delle «ragioni» non mi riguarda.”
Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays