Joan Didion: Intimacy and the Intellectual Writer

Memories of studying Joan Didion…. #LiteraryIntimacy and so forth. Quite long but may hit for some folks in the #writingcommunity. Happy New Year!

Elizabeth Gaucher

Joan Didion died 3 days ago; I’m posting this paper out of my deep respect for her writing life, and so I can share ideas with my friend Doug Imbrogno. Anyone else who wants to share in celebrating Didion’s life and work is welcome to join us. — EDG

Advisor: Carter Sickels 
Fall 2014 
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Master of Fine Arts 
in Creative Writing Program West Virginia Wesleyan College

“Reading Joan Didion on any subject is like tiptoeing across a just-frozen pond filled with beautiful sharks. You look down and pray the ice will hold. Meeting her is not a vastly different experience.”

— Boris Kachka

The term “intimacy” triggers a cascading range of images: closeness, nakedness, engagement, connection, romance, mutuality, participation, shared revelation. Though not always an overt expectation, some degree of authorial intimacy is what readers of personal essays and creative nonfiction…

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Advent Ghosts 2021: “Presence”

The Paw Paw Tunnel is a 3,118-foot-long canal tunnel on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Allegany County, Maryland. Located near Paw Paw, West Virginia, it was built to bypass the Paw Paw Bends, a six-mile stretch of the Potomac River containing five horseshoe-shaped bends. 

Winding my way. The commonwealth for an hour, but now it’s the oldest county in the state no one seems to believe is real. I can feel the old. It looks into my windows. Trying both to outrun it and let it ride with me.

The turns. Always the turns, then blindness, then an opening. Pressing fuel but now another turn. 

Four hills, and narrow. Speed lost, though I look for it. A crumbling stone bridge suggests in silence I can’t cross.

I cross and the stones disappear behind me.

It will be soon. And all out of my hands.

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Advent Ghosts 100 Word Storytelling is put on by Loren Eaton at I Saw Lightning Fall. You can read this year’s entries there. Visit back here throughout the day for a growing crop of spooky stories from a range of writers! Loren posts them all day as we approach the darkest day of the year.

This is an exactly 100-word flash fiction piece for a tradition of writing ghost stories on Christmas Eve. We acknowledge a sinful and hopeless world, and welcome the dawn in full awareness that Christmas day brings us light.

Search tag “Advent Ghosts” to read all of my 100-word stories for this project over the years.