Had a great time on the panel "Hot Reads for Cool Chicks" which I talk about in my Fresh Fiction column. But do you ever do that thing where someone asks you a question, and you give some lame answer, and then later you realize what you really wanted to say but couldn't seem to come up with at the moment?
Being Halloween, and a panel full of writers who write paranormal and fantasy novels for teens, of course the question came up, have we ourselves had any paranormal experiences, maybe of a ghostly variety. The other panelists--Victoria Laurie, Isobelle Carmody, Katherine Marsh--had amusing things to say, and I blathered about how my mom keeps my dad's urn in her closet so that she can talk to him while she's getting dressed and ready for her day, just like she used to when he was alive. (I should point out, my mom's closet is a palatial sort of arrangement. It's not like he's stuck in some cramped little hole.)
So, I said then, as I do believe, that I think we're closest to the spirits of our departed loved ones maybe not so much in the big dramatic moments, as happens in books and movies, but in the small domestic times, in the routines that we shared from day to day.
(See my dad? This is, like, his high school picture. Somewhere I have his army photo, where I swear he looks a lot like Elvis in G.I. Blues.)
What I didn't say, because I didn't want to be That Girl Who Brings Up Rather Personal Beliefs in a Public Forum, is that as a reasonably spiritual person, is that I hold that we are more than just flesh and bone. I have a character in The Splendor Falls who says pretty specifically what I think; I do believe there is some part of us that continues after the physical body has ended, but I hope that there's something better destined for us than hanging around here. :-)
So I don't really think every "ghost story" is really a ghost. But I'm not a complete cynic, either. And who's to say that evoking someone with memory and imagination isn't as "real"--at least to the person experiencing it--as any "true" paranormal activity.
And this is NOT as untimely as you might think, despite Halloween being over. Today is The Feast of All Souls, when the Church remembers and prays for the souls of the departed.Awesomely, in Latin America, they turn it into a big, rather macabre, party.
So today I remember specifically my dad Wallace, my grandfather Eugene, and Jean, the mother of my dear friend Carole, who passed away just a few weeks ago. Who are you thinking of today, on All Soul's Day?
(If you like, I'll remember them by name at Mass tonight. But only if you post before 6:30, since I will NOT tweet/check mail while waiting for Mass to start, like I did on the Feast of St. Luke. I forget that my mother reads my tweets, and I'm not too old for a maternal reprimand.)