Have you ever seen a ghost? Really seen one? Me, I’m not so sure. Once when I was very very young I saw a dark furry shape with a face floating above my bed. I can remember it looking down on me. I stood on my bed and tried to touch it, but couldn’t reach. Then I ran to my parent’s bedroom. They told me not to worry about it and go back to bed. Eventually I did and whatever I had seen was gone (though I remember it was still there the first time I ventured back). Who knows? It wasn’t traumatic or anything, but I still remember the experience.
There was another time, also sort of innocuous. I was living in a house with some friends, but working a midnight shift at this job I had so I had to sleep during the day. At least once, I remember sort of being half-asleep and hearing these footsteps walking around above me. Previous to living in this house, I had stayed in my parent’s basement for a few years so I was used to hearing noises above me. However, when I eventually woke more fully, I realized that the house I was currently staying in had no upstairs — only an attic. It was a curious thing and one or two other people who lived there with me said they had also heard footsteps from rooms where nobody was.
When my friend bought the house it was filled with tons and tons of junk. Bags of clothes, lots of furniture and boxes and boxes of products. There were numerous collections of things in amounts that nobody could reasonably keep. I had never seen so much stuff piled into one place. Whenever you move into some old house, you can’t help but wonder about the lives of the people who lived there before you. It must be some innate human characteristic that makes us want to learn about the past. Perhaps it relates to our oral traditions and story telling and gives us a certain perspective on life. Anyway, all this seemed like good fodder to plant some seeds in my brain with, and see if I couldn’t develop a fictional story out of it.
I made one early attempt at this in a sort of flash fiction version which I submitted to a writing class. Then it sat on my computer and gathered electronic dust. However the notion stuck with me, as good ideas tend to do. Some writers keep an “idea” journal and write down story ideas they come up with in flashes of inspiration to save for a rainy day. I do that sometimes. However, I believe Stephen King (and others) said that good ideas, the really good ones, will stay with you. Your mind won’t let you forget those. In any case, the elements of setting from my real life experience did keep bouncing around in my head. So when I got back into writing I decided I would take those ideas out and really work through them to come up with a more full story.
I thought about living in a house owned by a hoarder. What stories did such a house have? Who had lived there before and what was their life like? How does a house get so full of junk? What happens when the owner is gone, but the stuff remains? Then if you start to add in questions about the spirit world, things get even more interesting. Do houses have personalities? Do owner’s shape a house’s spirit? Are our lives tied in with our homes or are they just dead material vessels where we dwell for a certain period of time? What is the difference between a “house” and a “home”. That one is really interesting. The word “home” is a very special word and sacred word. It implies not only a physical place, but a state of being. The archetype of the home is really an early concept where life is imbued into something that is seemingly not alive.
All interesting and classic tropes. So i set to it and put together another novelette to tie all these things together and give my particular take on them. Like my other fictional works outside fantasy and science fiction, this story gets more into the psychological suspense genres. I find it interesting to get inside people’s minds and uncover their motives and beliefs and a crises of conscious is usually pretty good way to do that. Even when the point of view for a story is only from a single person you can still read motives and beliefs from other characters through their actions and what they say (even when they are lying). So my next release is going to be about this. It’s a completely fictional tale, but a fun one.
Soundtrack In My Head: When I wrote this story I listened exclusively to Pink Floyd. The specific songs were: One of These Days, A Pillow of Winds, Fearless, and Echoes all off the Meddle album. I also listened to Shine On You Crazy Diamond Pts 1 & 2 (Wish You Were Here) and Comfortably Numb (The Wall). Just the right mood for wiggling my fingers in between some loose boards I found separating the many plains of existence.
Talent: I’ve tapped into the old gang again. The compatriots in my writing group helped to vet this work (“The Southland Scribes) as they usually do. I also manged to get my ongoing cover artist Daniel Gracey (I’ve included a rough draft of the preliminary sketchwork for the cover above) to do some cover art, and Tammy Salyer for the editing. Lastly, Craig Knitt signed on once more to put together a promotional book trailer with John Doyle scoring a soundtrack. A professional group through and through. I’m very lucky to work with them.
Well, that’s all for now.
Stay tuned for more updates and the release of “Mildred” a tale of psychological suspense.