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Top 22 Incredible Joan Didion Quotes

on Self-Respect and Loss

At Vlogmail, we offer regular personal and professional development through inspiration, motivation, and training. Today we, are sharing “Top 22 Incredible Joan Didion Quotes”

Born in 1934, Joan Didion is a renowned essayist, novelist, and screenwriter, best known for her literary journalism and memoirs.

After graduation, Didion worked for Vogue magazine for seven years, first as a copywriter and later as an editor. While working there she wrote her first novel, Run River (1963), a book that examines the disintegration of a California family.

Much of Didion’s work explores the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos; her most celebrated writing has been in the form of essays and the most predominant theme of her work is individual and social fragmentation.

In 2005, Didion published The
Year of Magical Thinking
which was immediately acclaimed as a classic book
about mourning. The novel won the National Book Award for Nonfiction and was a
finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize
for Biography/Autobiography.

If you want to learn more about Didion’s remarkable career
and personal struggles, you can watch the Netflix documentary The Center Will Not Hold.

Here are 22 incredible Joan Didion quotes on self-respect and loss:

We tell ourselves stories in order to live.

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

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.

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

I closed the box and put it in a closet. There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.

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

I have come to see, we knew not the smallest fraction of what there was to know.

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.

Water is important to people who do not have it, and the same is true of control.

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

Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.

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. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.

Do not whine… Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.

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

Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it.

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

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves–there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.

I know why we try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us. I also know that if we are to live ourselves there comes a point at which we must relinquish the dead, let them go, keep them dead.

Self-respect is a question of recognizing that anything worth having, has a price.

The ability to think for one’s self depends upon one’s mastery of the language.

To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference.

I’m just telling you to live in [the world.] Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it.

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