Sending Joan Didion a Friend Request
So, you’re looking at the number of friends you have on Facebook and it’s, well, pretty scant. Some of those in your circle have, like, a thousand friends and you’re feeling pretty down about it and you think you’ll add to your list and so you decide to see if Joan Didion has a Facebook account.
You back up for a minute and think about this.
You remember how you sent one of your favorite comedians a friend request and it’s still pending and you figure he doesn’t want to be your friend, he doesn’t even know you, but you like him and you want him to like you and its painful not hearing back. But for some reason you’re thinking that Joan Didion will accept you as a friend. You have things in common, after all. You’re both literary writers and you love her work and you’re certain if she could read yours, she’d return the love.
In addition to the content of her books, you’ve grown to admire two vintage photos of her with a cigarette in her hand, and she looks mythic and fabulous and you wonder if she still smokes, and if she does, you’d like to be able to tell her the method whereby you quit smoking shortly after graduating from University of Penn. And if she has quit smoking, that’s another thing you have in common.
You watched her accept the National Book Award for The Year of Magical Thinking and you knew it to be a fine, deserving book because you read it and loved its brilliance and felt the sadness.
You’d love to have a chat with her in New York over strong coffee in one of those tony downtown cafes as a prelude to friending her on Facebook.
“Joan,” you’d say, as you relished the sound of her spoon stirring half-and-half into a mug of house brand, “I’m speechless at your talent. To what do you owe your success?” She’s savvy and sophisticated and she’d probably respond with “Good genes and hard work, my dear writer friend. That’s the secret of my success.”
You’d want to tell her that editors and publishers won’t know that you, personally, might already have good genes and hard-working habits until that time when you happen to hit it out of the park, but you decide you’ll keep such thoughts to yourself. You wouldn’t want to discourage her wisdom. She’s Joan Didion, after all.
Coffee in New York with Joan might be your best chance of having her accept your friend request, but you’re pretty sure coffee isn’t in the cards, so, you access your Facebook account and you key in Joan Didion’s name and there are multiple Joan Didions, and then there’s one with her picture, a dramatic black and white photograph and she looks remarkable with light hair and sharp features and that cast-iron expression confirming she has nothing to prove, but you can’t add her as a friend or even send her a message.
It seems there’s a conspicuous blank space in the data field where the options to receive a friend request would ordinarily reside. Blank space…thwarted…no chance for kinship.
Joan Didion needs no new friends. She is in possession of everything the fates have allowed.
Hmmm. Maybe Cormac McCarthy or Michael Ondaatje has a Facebook account.
Gerri George’s stories, which often portray the human side of outsiders, have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Literal Latte, Penn Review Literary Magazine, The Bucks County Writer, Quiddity International Literary Journal, Wild River Review, Front Range Review, and elsewhere. “A Rose by Any Other Name” was a Pushcart Prize nominee. “Night,” read by a professional actor before a literature-loving audience in London, Soho (OK, so it was a pub), also appears in audio and text on the Liars’ League website, under the Sex and the City theme. I received a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund writing grant for women artists. Hastings, America – a poem (America Ground, Hastings) – read at the Hastings Festival in England on July 4, 2010, and will be published in their anthology. The Great Idea Drought appeared in The Penn Writer, and I won a Writer’s Digest contest in the category of TV/Movie Script.
FACEBOOK: facebook/Gerri George
To read George’s short story “Henry Moore and the Bookstore Clerk”, click here: Henry Moore and the Bookstore Clerk.
Gerri George, WRR Literary Editor, writes stories, which often portray the human side of outsiders, have appeared in Literal Latte, Penn Review Literary Magazine, The Bucks County Writer, Quiddity International Literary Journal, and elsewhere. “A Rose by Any Other Name” was a Pushcart Prize nominee. “Night,” read by a professional actor before a literature-loving audience in London, Soho, also appears on the Liars’ League website, under the Sex and the City theme. She received a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund writing grant for women artists. Her article, “The Benefits of Chocolate,” appeared on Futurehealth.org. WEBSITE: www.futurehealth.org
Penn Review Literary Journal reprinted her story “Watching Belle’s Daughters” in an anniversary issue, chosen as a staff favorite, and read aloud at a University of Pennsylvania event. The story, a woman stopping her car for children in a crosswalk and deciding whether she and her husband should have children, was acknowledged by the listening audience as an important issue.
She worked a stint in California, long distance, as Associate Producer on several award-winning short films and web series, She studied screenwriting techniques and texts via the cyber world including theory by Robert McKee, Aaron Sorkin, John Truby, and Hal Croasmun. She’s written screenplays such as an adventure for children, and dramas for grown-ups, and a short script adapting one of her stories, A Rose by Any Other Name. In this story, a man struggles to come to terms with his grandchild’s gender reassignment decision. Screenplay and other awards along the way. She co-wrote with William Eib a TV series bible which was optioned by a trio of Hollywood producers.
As Literary Editor of WRR, she solicited both original work and reprints which included unique content by talented writers. A few examples: pieces such as “Three Myths About Art and Success” by singer-songwriter Carsie Blanton; a rare interview with the Dalai Lama by Edie Weinstein; and “Our First Language: Why Kids Need Poetry”, a wonderful essay by Jade Leone Blackwater, a Washington state poet.
FACEBOOK: Gerri George