5 Quotes On Life And Writing From Joan Didion I Love

Writing Quote

Photo by: Alvaro Serrano, Unsplash

Confession: I collect quotes, Kindle ebooks and more recently, plants. Whoohoo green thumb!

It is also no secret that I admire and would love to have coffee with Joan Didion. She has been a professional writer for over 50 years, and she definitely knows a thing or five about writing and living.

I met Joan in the pages of her book, The Year of Magical Thinking about seven years ago, just after my mum died. It was a memoir of her own journey with grief after the sudden death of her husband. The book made me think and certainly made me appreciate grief and other people’s journey with grief. I was so struck by her words, I’ve been playing catch up, reading more of her work since.

Reading her work and collecting quotes along the way. Today, I’m sharing some of my favourites with you:

On staying present to the present:

‘Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.’ The Year of Magical Thinking, 2005

On writing to remember:

‘Memory fades, memory adjusts, memory conforms to what we think we remember.’ Blue Nights, 2011

On grief as a journey and the importance of empathy – who feels it knows it:

‘Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it.’ The Year of Magical Thinking, 2005

On starting:

‘There’s a point when you go with what you’ve got. Or you don’t go.’ The Paris Review, fall-winter 1978

On moving on:

‘I have already lost touch with a couple people I used to be…’ Slouching Towards Bethlehem, 1968

 Joan’s work and her importance as a female essayist, continues to inspire me. It is tough work this writing and living and being seen. I would love to hear from you, share some of your favourite quotes below!



  1. Mariana
    June 16, 2017 / 7:20 pm

    “Memory fades, memory adjusts, memory confirms to what we think we remember. ”
    Blue nights, 2011.
    This is sooo true. Hence writing is very important. Keep writing.

    • Vernette
      June 16, 2017 / 8:52 pm

      Agreed! And I will.

  2. June 18, 2017 / 2:07 pm

    “I have already lost touch with a couple people I used to be…”

    This is so meta ….. I collect quotes, from books and movies, even TV series so I always watch with the subtitles on and then pause and rewind to commit to memory a particularly witty line or even write it down filed away for future use….

    PS The Grief one is so apt!!!

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