"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."
"A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."Joan Didion on John F. Kennedy
"Pick the day. Enjoy it - to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come... The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present - and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future."Joan Didion on Audrey Hepburn
"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."Joan Didion on Thomas Paine
"We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict."Joan Didion on Jim Morrison
"What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it."Joan Didion on Jiddu Krishnamurti
"Writing fiction is for me a fraught business, an occasion of daily dread for at least the first half of the novel, and sometimes all the way through. The work process is totally different from writing nonfiction. You have to sit down every day and make it up."
"Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?"
"Before I'd written movies, I never could do big set-piece scenes with a lot of different speakers - when you've got twelve people around a dinner table talking at cross purposes. I had always been impressed by other people's ability to do that."
"To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves - there lies the great, singular power of self-respect."
"Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power."