Joan Didion

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Joan Didion, Why I Write

I went to a writing seminar where Didion was the guest speaker. I met her afterward, and asked her about overcoming writer's block. It was a brush with greatness. Her advice was sage. She said she doesn't write novels or screenplays or articles. She writes sentences. Don't think about the whole thing, just write one sentence, then another, then another. I use that advice every day. I remember when I finished college, I was eating dinner with my mother. She asked me, now that I had a degree in communications, what was I going to be. I said I wanted to be Joan Didion. My mom looked perplexed. "I thought you would pick a man," she said.

Joan Didion, from “Why I Write”:


Joan Didion, Why I Write

Grammar is a piano I play by ear, since I seem to have been out of school the year the rules were mentioned. All I know about grammar is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed. Many people know about camera angles now, but not so many know about sentences. 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 picture tells you how to arrange the words and the arrangement of the words tells you, or tells me, what’s going on in the picture.

— Joan Didion, Why I Write

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JOAN DIDION: Blaue Stunden

Roman. Ullstein Verlag, 208 Seiten, € 18,00

Jeden Abend in der Dämmerung kommt das „Zurückkehren ins Blaue“, die Erinnerung. Das neue Buch der großen Essayistin Joan Didion über das Alter, die Verluste des Lebens und vor allem den Tod der Tochter.

„Die Angst kommt nicht von dem Verlorenen ... Die Angst kommt von dem, was noch verloren werden kann.“


"I'm not telling you to make the world better, because I don't think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I'm just telling you to live in it. 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. To seize the moment." — Joan Didion


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