J. Robert King


Ghost in the Graveyard

It’s 10:30 p.m. Do you know where your children are?

Yes. They’re out playing ghost in the graveyard.

I am, meanwhile, inside . . . playing the same.

Of course, my sons play by running around and leaping out of shadows and tagging each other, hearts pounding in their throats.

I play by crouching here and writing my way into the shadows of the psyche and leaping out at readers.

I hope a few hearts pound.

It’s the same fundamental impulse. My children wait until the sun is gone, and I wait until moral ambiguity rises around me.

Then it’s time to tell stories. Ghost stories.

My eldest son recently expressed regret that we talk about a Holy Ghost:”Let’s stick to Holy Spirit. Holy Ghost sounds like Halloween or Casper.”

I agreed. Holy Spirit is cooler. More believable.

The same son stood beside me in the choir of my youth, singing “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” Across the page, the Spanish version of the hymn read, “Santos, Santos, Santos, Senior Omipotante.”

Senior Omnipotante?  Mr. All-Powerful?

Are we talking about God, or Mr. Incredible?

It’s the Spanish equivalent of Holy Ghost–hard to believe.

But we do, don’t we?

Ghost in the graveyard. We know about the graveyard. It’s where we all spend the majority of our existence. What we don’t know is about the ghost.

Is there one? A Holy One.

Or, at least, will I be the ghost in the graveyard?

What if it’s only one big graveyard with no ghosts?

We want answers. Why else play the game? Why else write the novels? We hope, at least, that we’re the ghosts in the graveyard, surrounded by evidence of our imminent demise and dancing all the same.

Tagging people.

Writing books.

Having fun.

June 30th, 2009
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