Even a blog post must tell a story. So, this blog, being no exception, is a story about you and me and how we connect, because collaboration is a two-way street. One might even say that ‘possession’ is nine-tenths of believing fiction at all! Here is our story.
Once upon a time there was an author…
When a fictional character arrives out of the blue, literally ‘dying to tell their story’, an author dutifully listens like they’re old friends, because in way, it’s quite possible, they are. If not at the beginning; then certainly at the end.
And more often than not, a deceased character with a story will rent a compartment in the author’s mind for years before they get down to business. But when they do, the two bravely enter another world, together before inviting you to join us.
Personally, as an author of metaphysical fiction, I always approach my ‘tenants’ cautiously at arms length. Vicarious is as vicarious does.
Paranormal fiction requires a transmitter and a receiver. One thing is certain: there is no story unless you and I agree to meet on another plane of existence. As a writer of fiction, I create a fanciful story deliberately intended to displace reality. I then invite you, the reader living on ‘the other side’ of the story, to travel on a different plane for a few hours by suspending your disbelief to learn something new about yourself.
That said, the first rule of ghost busting is vital for our survival: we must approach the unknown with the confidence of a seasoned traveler. The second rule is never let a ghostly character see you sweat.
One of my favorite novels is ‘THE LOVELY BONES’ – a ghost story/murder mystery with a poignant twist because the ghost narrator is an innocent teenage girl. Unfortunately, children go missing every day, so it was an especially poignant scenario, startlingly believable in concept; arrestingly beautiful in the telling.
ARTIFACTS = ART + FACTS THAT INFORM MY FICTION
Every museum artifact has a story.
Stories like ‘The Lovely Bones’ inspired me to explore what-if situations. Not from the downtrodden social-economic tracks on ‘other side of town’, but from the proverbial ‘other side’ of life where humans with unfinished business confront the living in order to be heard.
And so, after this pair of children’s shoes ‘followed me home’ from a Titanic exhibit in the Halifax Maritime Museum, they haunted me for seven years before I wrote ‘THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES’ about a boy named Finn who perished on the doomed ocean liner.
Finn explained his predicament, shyly at first, but grew bolder as we formed a bond of trust. He was afraid to meet his mother on the ‘other side’ because he lost the first store bought shoes he’d ever owned.
Mothers, it seems, are able to imprint irrational fears in brutally swift unconscious moments.
At first sight, inside their glass case, the shoes were unthinkably LONELY SHOES – the forgotten shoes of a lost child. But beyond the shoes, beyond the truth, lurked the lingering ever-present reality of a once-cherished living child.
Not long after visiting the museum, I watched a young mother struggling unsuccessfully to squeeze a shoe on her toddler while he wiggled his toes. It awakened the ghost within me of the Titanic shoes, once water-logged and encrusted with salt. The pair of extraordinarily ordinary shoes in my mind, still housed a dormant spark of energy. I couldn’t help but visualize another mother in a desperate hurry, cajoling her fidgety child to cooperate, dressing in haste to reach the last lifeboat.
A LOST BOY FROM THE TITANIC LOSES HIS SHOES BETWEEN HEAVEN AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA
When death separates two children onboard Titanic who were destined to marry, the ghost of the boy chooses to remain earthbound as the surviving girl’s invisible childhood companion.
AUTHORS AND READERS ARE ESSENTIALLY LIFEBOATS
We offer a ‘dispossessed’ astral traveler the means to escape by listening without judgement.
A canny muse unexpectedly delivers the deep end of a story, sideways (from the brightest shadows of the imagination), the direction I, and many other writers, have come to recognize as the true north of a story. Storytellers are compelled to mine the hidden story layers where the true treasures lie. We are strange creatures who float in a sea of fantasies, unconsciously digging for gold. In my case, an imagined otherworldly memory blew my first draft of ‘THE UNTHINKABLE SHOES’ out of the water.
SO… WHAT IS A GHOST?
It occurs to me that our worst and best moments embed themselves in our minds like snapshots in a photo album. Every now and then their flashbulbs pop twice. Images that have a particular impact, like it or not, continue to haunt or inspire us for ill or for gain. And like all true pictures, they’re worth a thousand words. So, a memory or an old picture can, in effect, be a ghost that walks through a room and leaves an impression when you least expect it.
To a sensitive observer, the echoes of the past reach out and touch them in surprises of recognition.
For this reason, I’m determined to write ghostly rather than ghastly by celebrating a positive curiosity of the afterlife rather than fearful visions of an horrific ‘void’ at the end of the world.
My stories explore the lighter side of alternative physics where museums archive the essences of past lives, sentient buildings host generations of ghosts and elementals, and mystical places provide safe harbor to lost souls determined to find each other across time, resolve their unfinished business, and make their way home.