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All Quotes by author - 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. "
" Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power. "
" I have always wanted a swimming pool and never had one. "
" It kills me when people talk about California hedonism. Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento. "
" I went on a book tour immediately after 9/11. I was due to leave the following Wednesday, so I just did. It was an amazing thing, because planes hadn't been flying very many days, and I got on this plane and went to San Francisco, and the minute that plane lifted above the clouds, I felt this incredible sense of lightness. "
" Late afternoon on the West Coast ends with the sky doing all its brilliant stuff. "
" Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. "
" Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant. "
" Memories are what you no longer want to remember. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Of course great hotels have always been social ideas, flawless mirrors to the particular societies they service. "
" Once in a while, when I first started to write pieces, I would try to write to a reader other than myself. I always failed. I would freeze up. "
" 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. "
" Quite often you want to tell somebody your dream, your nightmare. Well, nobody wants to hear about someone else's dream, good or bad; nobody wants to walk around with it. The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to the dream. "
" Self-respect is a question of recognizing that anything worth having has a price. "
" The apparent ease of California life is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion real live here in only the most temporary way. "
" The arrangement of the words matters, and the arrangement you want can be found in the picture in your mind. The picture dictates the arrangement. The picture dictates whether this will be a sentence with or without clauses, a sentence that ends hard or a dying-fall sentence, long or short, active or passive. "
" The fancy that extraterrestrial life is by definition of a higher order than our own is one that soothes all children, and many writers. "
" The minute you start putting words on paper you're eliminating possibilities. "
" 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. "
" The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs. "
" To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves - there lies the great, singular power of self-respect. "
" When I was in fact a child, six and seven and eight years old, I was utterly baffled by the enthusiasm with which my cousin Brenda, a year and a half younger, accepted her mother's definition of her as someone who needed to go to bed at six-thirty and finish every bite of three vegetables, one of them yellow, with every meal. "
" 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. "
" You aren't sure if you're making the right decision - about anything, ever. "
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