Books and Ghosts

My first self-publishing venture, Where’s the Red Button?, has gone off to the printer!

Where’s the Red Button? is not really my book. It’s the inspirational story of a friend, Lavinia Wilson, that I wrote for and with her. It’s called ghost-writing, and it is an eery process. To write ‘I said… I did’ from another person’s perspective is like haunting her life. Or is it her ghosts which are haunting my head?  

During the writing, we gave the shadows of Lavinia’s past a good stir. She sat in my rocking chair once a fortnight and talked while I took notes. I prodded her with questions – what exactly happened next? What did that person say? Dragging the detail out of the haunted house of memory wasn’t always easy.

When Lavinia gave me the official files she and her sister obtained under FoI rules, it was like walking into the past. I was the ghost of the future, eavesdropping on police interviews, telephone calls between social workers, and departmental discussions. The drama seemed present and real, but like a ghost, I couldn’t change anything.

Lavinia’s story eventually shows we can be healed from trauma, although it’s an ongoing process. Still, the past, and other people’s lives, haunt all of us. I think that’s the way it should be — we’re not goldfish, who forget everything in 20 seconds. Nor are we disconnected within universes of our own making. Our lives goes beyond ourselves, and beyond the moment in which they’re lived.

This is an excerpt from the November 2021 edition of my Scroll newsletter. Click here for the full newsletter and latest edition

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