I don’t believe in ghosts. Not the invisible ones or the bed-sheet-wearers. But I have no doubt that memories and traces of family and friends gone haunt us, whether alive, dead, or undead. I know the past has never left me alone.
Sometimes that’s a good thing. I saw Todd Haines’ amazing Velvet Underground documentary and realized that a couple of parts of “European Son” play on a loop somewhere in the background of my consciousness at all times. Also, that I want to try playing guitar again.
The horror podcast is going great guns this month because of Halloween. We’re recording every week. Makes me think about what I actually find scary. It’s definitely not horror movies. Go read up on cryptocurrency if you wanna be scared shitless. Read a news headline or three. Or watch Forrest Gump. Vampires, ghosts, zombies, and make-believe serial killers are comedy relief by comparison.
I took a walk with Wendy in Pilsen the other day and she reminded me about the time we met on Halloween at the same spot many years before. I was still driving a cab and had gotten a rubber clown mask from the Batman movie and worn it on my shift. I scared the shit out of people. Somewhere there are photobooth snaps of me and Tracy from that same night. I tried to wear the mask the following year, but it had shrunk. Probably just cheap material, but maybe the universe telling me not to do that again.
I don’t think I’ve ever been asked to draw a ghost until just recently. It was to illustrate an article about ghosting. That’s the kind of apparition I’ve become intimately familiar with. A very contemporary monster, conjured and coaxed to propagate by technology. Our communication devices give us a thousand novel ways to avoid one another. No matter how high the resolution or wide-spectrum the audio, silence is still silence; it hurts as much, maybe more. That’s what keeps haunting me. I’m probably as guilty as most. For all the time I sit and wait for someone to answer, there must be at least one or two people that sit and wait on me. The trouble is that it’s so rare that the waiters ever match. We’re always waiting for those who don’t wait for us.
Bet you have a disappearist or three in your life. What if one of them actually came back? Now that would be some scary shit!
[I read an excerpt from my book in progress for a Hello America compilation.]