the·right·words.
Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
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.
Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem
You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.
Joan Didion, The Book of Common Prayers
We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4am of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget.
Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethelehem
One of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened to anyone before.
Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That”
People with self-respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of moral nerve; they display what was once called ‘character,’ a quality which, although approved in the abstract, sometimes loses ground to other, more instantly negotiable virtues…Nonetheless, character—the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life—is the source from which self-respect springs.
Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays
I still believed in possibilities then, still had the sense, so peculiar to New York, that something extraordinary would happen any minute, any day, any month.
Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That”
I was in love with New York. I do not mean “love” in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again.
Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That”
Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.
Joan Didion, “On Self-Respect”