05 April 2011

Sometimes someone say it all better than I can

So I have to copy Didion quotes:

"Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect the shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be "healing." A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to "get through it," rise to the occasion, exhibit the "strength" that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves the for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief was we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself."

"Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss."
Joan Didion

"...quite simply, 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. I remember walking across Sixty-second Street one twilight that first spring, or the second spring, they were all alike for a while. I was late to meet someone but I stopped at Lexington Avenue and bought a peach and stood on the corner eating it and knew that I had come out out of the West and reached the mirage."
Joan Didion

"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. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave's a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that's what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it."
Joan Didion

"Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant."
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)

"A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image."
Joan Didion

"I lost the conviction that lights would always turn green for me, the pleasant certainty that those rather passive virtues which had won me approval as a child automatically guaranteed me not only Phi Beta Kappa keys but happiness, honor, and the love of a good man; lost a certain touching faith in the totem power of good manners, clean hair, and a proven competence on the Stanford-Binet scale. To such doubtful amulets had my self-respect been pinned, and I faced myself that day with the non-plused apprehension of someone who has come across a vampire and has no crucifix at hand."
Joan Didion

"Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself."
Joan Didion (On Self-Respect)
"Read, learn, work it up, go to the literature.
Information is control."
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)

"I just can't see the upside in this," I heard myself say by way of explanation.

Later he said that if John had been sitting in the office he would have found this funny, as he himself had found it. "Of course I knew what you meant to say, and John would have known too, you meant to say you couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel."

I agreed, but this was not in fact the case.

I had meant pretty much exactly what I said: I couldn't see the upside in this.

As I thought about the difference between the two sentences I realized that my impression of myself had been of someone who could look for, and find, the upside in any situation. I had believed in the logic of popular songs. I had looked for the silver lining. I had walked on through the storm. It occurs to me now that these were not even the songs of my generation. They were the songs, and the logic, of the generation or two that preceded my own. The score for my generation was Les Paul and Mary Ford, "How High the Moon," a different logic altogether. It also occurs to me, not an original thought but novel to me, that the logic of those earlier songs was based on self-pity. The singer of the song about looking for the silver lining believes that clouds have come her way. The singer of the song about walking on through the storm assumes that the storm could otherwise take her down."
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)

"I was supposed to have a script, and had mislaid it. I was supposed to hear cues, and no longer did. I was meant to know the plot, but all I knew was what I saw: flash pictures in variable sequence, images with no 'meaning' beyond their temporary arrangement, not a movie but a cutting-room experience."
Joan Didion

"[O]ne 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 before."
Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays)

"prepare a little hot tea or broth and it should be brought to them . . . without their being asked if they would care for it. Those who are in great distress want no food, but if it is handed to them, they will mechanically take it ' ... There was something arresting about the matter-of-fact wisdom here, the instinctive understanding of the physiological disruptions... I will not forget the instinctive wisdom of the friend who, every day for those first few weeks, brought me a quart container of scallion-and-ginger congee from Chinatown. Congee I could eat. Congee was all I could eat."
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)

Yes, a little obsessive but Didion apparently checks into my heart and soul when she writes. Tapping on keys these days and going through boxes. It appears that I have stopped looking for the light at the end of my tunnel.

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