The Haunting, All Hallow’s Eve By The Fire, one year ago, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 31st, 2006, photo © 2006-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
Maybe it’s the time of year — Halloween and Day of the Dead nearly upon us. Nights grow longer. Frost kills the plants, and another season is put to rest.
Or maybe it’s our era, so many things to haunt us. We seem to be troubled, melancholy. Is the world crying, or is it just me?
I believe in ghosts, and not just the kind that might spook one cold, dark morning. (Who just caused the book to fall in the room next to me?)
It doesn’t take much to be haunted. Something someone told you that you can’t shake. Or something you saw. Experiences can haunt, and the specter of disease can haunt, and memories — my, how they haunt!
Is it bad to be haunted? Or is the ghost only as menacing as we allow it to be? (Remember Casper, anyone?)
In the October 1, 2007 issue of The New Yorker, Philip Roth said this about the inspiration of ghosts and haunting for his novel Exit Ghost:
‘Haunted by the past’ is a commonplace phrase because it’s a commonplace experience. Even if one is not, strictly speaking, ‘haunted’, the past is perpetually with one in the present, and the longer it grows and the further it recedes the stronger its presence seems to become. I agree with the Chekhov character who, when, in a crisis, he is reminded that ‘this, too, shall pass’, responds, ‘Nothing passes’.
What do you think of when you think of haunting and ghosts? Are you frightened? Or do you regularly revisit your old ghosts?
Write about ghosts and haunting. You can write about the ways you are haunted figuratively, or write about your real experiences with the supernatural. The topic is rich. Write more than once.
At the top of your page, write these words: I am haunted by … and then for three or so minutes list all the things that haunt you. Just like in Writing Practice, don’t stop to think about your list. Just click off each item.
When you’re finished, pick one of the “ghosts” on your list and write about it for ten minutes. Pick another and write for ten more. If you’d like, send us one of those writing practices to post on red Ravine. We’ll publish as many as we can.