I think I’ve always liked the idea of ghosts. I also feel that the word “GHOST” is one of the most visually appealing words I know. Several of the pieces of fiction I’ve either written or planned to write had some connection with ghosts, even if just in metaphor or theme. I, however, don’t believe in ghosts.

In a conversation with my brother yesterday, I said that I like to think of ghosts as the memory of someone who has died. That the memory of a person could be so strong that it could almost have a presence. The only people who would be “haunted” are the people carrying that memory. I can’t buy into the idea that the presence is just a transparent version of who you were the second before you died. There have been times when I’ve listened to someone tell a story about actually seeing a ghost and I have to bite my lip, trying not to smirk.

Atlas Obscura posted a story about an autograph book published in London in 1905 called The Ghost of My Friends. The glazed paper collected the ink of someone’s signature so that when the book closed it could create an inkblot of their names. What remained were eerie, sometimes beautiful figures that people started calling “ghost signatures.” Obviously, I fell in love with the idea and wished for a copy immediately.

One of my personal reasons for writing is that I want to leave something behind after I’m gone. If I build on my idea of a ghost being more the manifestation of a memory, the one real world attribute I’d want it to have would be a voice. The more words I can put down, the more my ghost will have to say, even if not aloud.

“Ghost signatures” is now one of my favorite terms ever.


[Photo: Redstone Press Collection]

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