No, I don’t believe in ghosts. But I have had many conversations, in my head, with my long gone grandmother. I think she’d be mystified by my life—intrigued by my independence, but disappointed that I never had a child. She serves as “monitor” with whom I check in.
I also talk to my characters.
They are another kind of specter—here but not here, real but not real, meaningful but not corporeal. The other day, I found myself having a discussion with one of the characters in the novel draft that is now in cold storage—on hold until the right time for another draft. Maybe that argues in favor of starting a new draft soon? I also caught myself in the circular thought pattern of the narrator. She finds that she is telling a long and complicated story about betrayal, lies and loyalty that she believes always comes down to cycles of “love and loss.”
Setting aside the messages sent by ghosts from old stories, my current crop of characters are busy buzzing in my ears. One is turning out to be much more sweet and clever than my original idea and another is clearly a nominally functional (and very charming) sociopath. Neither the sweetie nor the charmer is the protagonist. As they are revealing themselves to her, I’m tagging along for the ride. One of them made a joke today while I was wandering through the farmer’s market and I laughed!
Maybe I’m not really talking to figments of my imagination—they are just talking to me?