Intimacy as a Journey through This Text:
Time and Change from Transcription to Transcendence
Strangers often have an easier time revealing crucial secrets to each other than acquaintances do. Strangers do not have to contend with the discrepancy between their secret and their surface characteristics. Unlike acquaintances, each stranger has not yet had time to construct the public image of the other, which the latter's secrets would normally contradict. (M. S. Davis, 1973; pp. 119–120, italics added)
In writing, it is possible to move beyond the surface, to intimate as well as inform, to touch as well as make a point. Words, nested well within a story or poem, reach us through some fathomed coincidence of feeling, and through a deeper listening and coloring of that feeling (see letters by Barrett and Hawthorne on p. 33). If we listen in a suspended way, reading can move us—bring us to expectancy, insight, catharsis—in ways similar to the experiences shared in each other's presence. Intimacy, by its nature, does not conform to a single type of text or narrative; it is more about secrets than surface, more about openness and uncertainty than about closure and definition. Intimacy shifts the quality of an interaction; it bridges levels of meaning to make the impersonal more personal and close the distance. The meanings conveyed through both conversation and writing become intimate if we cue or reveal that the messages are offered to a specific you, whom we wish to know and whom we hope to know us.
Thus, information is not intimation. Information, facts, and the mere sending of signals are not intimacy, no matter how much of them we give to one another. As such, the operations—the analysis and synthesis—of scholars are