Her Widow is a straight-forward look into a shared life at its most vulnerable and victorious moments. The title reveals the couple is two women, an art director for Harper Collins for years and professional photographer and her partner, a novelist and painter.
Told through letters written by the novelist to her deceased partner in unfettered prose that reads like poetry, Alden covers a year in time while revealing many years of their shared life. Her letters ask and answer the universal questions of love and loss with a sharpness that in spite of its subject is hopeful.
The heartfelt Journal spans the year following a partner’s death from ovarian cancer. Alden wrote this in memory of her partner—photographer and graphic designer Catherine Hopkins (1940-1996). Month by Month, these letters to the late Catherine---illuminate the first year of sometimes–desperate grief. The journal artfully sets the enormity of loss in the context of everyday activities. Short, poetic notes on the weather provide a sense of inevitable forward motion. Catherine’s black-and-white photographs also illustrate the seasons’ passage. Tender, realistic snapshots of life during bereavement.
Joan Alden, a graduate of The Ohio State University and The Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in New York City, didn’t begin writing until she was 34 years old, working backstage at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco.
Last night’s snow and wind buried cars on the street and stilled the world outside my window.
I woke this morning wishing that I, too, had been buried by the wind and snow last night. I heard footsteps on the stairs–your sister-in-law or your niece. Not you. Never again you.
An oil truck on the street below revved its motor, struggling to make the turn, heading toward The Point. And then silence once again, and with the silence, emptiness.
I lay still in bed, not even stretching out my legs between the cool sheets, staring at the red wall where it meets the white trim of the window that was frosted this morning.