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!


Music can change the world because it

Read, enjoy, share.

Anytime, anywhere.

{Linking back to http://VernetteOutLoud.wordpress.com is appreciated.}

This quote was taken from Joan Didion’s essay “On Keeping A Notebook.” And in it she talks about how writing/keeping a notebook can help us stay in touch with who we used to be.

As she said, “we are all on our own when it comes to keeping those lines open to ourselves”. And I suppose that is what this blogging business is all about to me.

proustSo I took Vanity Fair’s version of Proust’s questionnaire and guess what…Joan Didion and I should have coffee someday.

Here are my responses:

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

    That extra five minutes just before getting out of bed, where I set my intentions for the day ahead.

2. What is your greatest fear?

    Living a mediocre life…and leeches. SLUGS and LEECHES!!!

3. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

    I’m really stumped here. I cannot think of anyone…right now.

4. Which living person do you most admire?

    Hmmm…I really am stumped here also. I admire a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. ***I would so change this answer to Joan Didion now***

5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

    I procrastinate a lot. Case in point the time this post is going to be published today…

6. What is the trait you most deplore in others?


7. What is your greatest extravagance?

    Travel. I’ve been bitten hard by the travel bug. And Van Houtte’s Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Coffee K-cups. *stops to make a cuppa*

8. On what occasion do you lie?

    Those “How are you?”…”I’m fine.” occasions.

9. What do you most dislike about your appearance?

    My big forehead. Thankfully, my boobs are kinda big…so there’s that.

10. When and where were you happiest?

    Exploring Manhattan by myself last October, while on vacation.

11. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

    Starting before I’m ready.

12. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

    Not being honest with each other. There have been too many family falling-outs because people were not 100% honest.

13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

    Being able to be strong for my mother when she needed me the most and being strong enough to let her go when she needed me to.

14. If you died and came back as a person or a thing, what do you think it would be?

    A dragon of course. Because…dragons!

15. What is your most treasured possession?

    A pair of earrings my mum always wore. They’re not expensive…the beads probably cost $5 but to me they are priceless. I remember wearing them to the movies one evening and when the lights came on I couldn’t find one side. My sister and I looked EVERYWHERE. We were there still frantically looking when the staff came in the sweep the room. They saw how near-tears I was and they kindly joined in the search. I guess they probably thought I was crazy looking for such a cheap bauble. Anyways we didn’t find it and I left completely broken-hearted. Until I got home and opened the bag with the extra slice of Tiramisu I bought…and found the earring inside. I’ve never worn them out of my apartment since.

16. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

    Seeing the one you love and not being the one they’re with.

17. Who are your heroes in real life?

    My uncle Earl. He’s been married to my aunt for 53 years. He is the father we all know. And my brother. I watched my brother take care of my sister-in-law during her pregnancy and that experience changed my view on men, husbands, fathers and brothers. When he grew up and became a man…I don’t know. But my sister-in-law is blessed with a good man. And yes I’m a biased big sister.

18. What is that you most dislike?

    Hmmm it would be disloyalty. Yes I said that before but disloyalty is like a pebble in my shoe.

19. How would you like to die?

    Old and grey…peacefully in my bed with my loved ones around me.

20. What is your motto?

    Love now.

I read Joan’s book, The Year of Magical Thinking shortly after my mum died. One of my friends gave it to me and that was the time I needed to read it. She’s 79 years old now…but I think she understands this writing business. Joan said that she never understands how she feels about something until she’s written about it.

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. – Joan Didion

We should so have coffee…or tea…my Keurig makes both.