“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

Didion croppedThis is the first sentence from The White Album by Joan Didion, a classic from 1979.  Known for her precise, unsentimental tone, she “wrote with a cool head in accordance with the principle that the lower the temperature of her prose, the higher the emotional voltage it could carry.”  Here is more from the first page: “We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the ‘ideas’ with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience. Or at least we do for  a while.”

Joan Didion, The White Album, (New York: Pocket Books, Simon and Schuster, 1980), p. 11.

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