Here We Go

Published November 11, 2018

Hello everyone! I have an update:

I have posted this on Fb but you, who have been reading my blog, deserve a separate notice and invitation.
Two friends, Bonnie and Claire, who live here at 700 Cocoanut are hosting a party in the lounge on Monday, Nov 12th at 7pm to launch my latest book, a memoir of a year in my life. Beginning my first night without Catherine, I wrote nightly letters to her. The habit took hold, and twenty-three years later I am still writing them.

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 and Doubleday for years and professional photographer and her partner, a novelist and oil painter.

I will be reading some of the letters that tell the story and afterward answering your questions and discussing how we are alike and how we are different while having some wine and cheese. For those who have only met me and haven’t read any of my books, I started as a novelist but for more than five years have been writing my story. Last year I published a book that dealt with my years 7 through 13 when I started asking myself, what’s up, and answered the question we want to know about those who are different: “When did you first know you were gay, a lesbian, or left-handed.

I did not start out to be a writer. I earned two degrees from Ohio State in the health sciences and worked five years as a dental hygienist in the San Francisco Bay area before driving cross country to New York City to enroll in The Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting. In New York, my first job was as a Playboy Bunny and my last as an OTC trader for Laird and Company on Wall Street.

In 1977 I returned to San Francisco and while working backstage at the Curran Theater, I had a vision of myself writing a book. I left my job at the theater and a year later completed Daresay, but rather than seek an agent and publisher for it, I started writing a second book, Mrs. Cooper’s Boardinghouse, published in 1980 by McGraw-Hill with The San Francisco Book Company. The book had a modest success. My second book, Letting in the Night, published in 1989 by Firebrand, a small, independent press, was a finalist in the Llambda LiteraryAwards for fiction in 1989. My third book was a children’s book published by Alyson Press, illustrated with hand-tinted, black and white photographs by Catherine, my life partner, and a professional photographer and graphic designer. It was chosen by the New York State Board of Education for their Rainbow Curriculum. I published my fourth book, Before Our Eyes, also with Firebrand, the following year. It was my last book for more than ten years.

Catherine was diagnosed in 1993 with ovarian cancer and died in 1996. I was unable to write for many years. During my hiatus, I took up oil painting and taught English Composition for a year at a community college in Ulster County, New York. Several years later, after moving to Charleston, South Carolina, I taught English Composition and Creative Writing at The Citadel, and sold my paintings from a cafe in Charleston.

In 2006, I returned to writing and for five years worked on my autobiography from which came When I First Knew and Her Widow.

To those who can make it to the reading, hurrah! To those who cannot, I hope you will catch up with me on my website: JoanAlden.com and by email: Jalden444@gmail.com.

In friendship,
Joan

Her Widow is Available Nov. 15 from JoanAlden.com, Amazon.com, and all bookstores.