Why I’m Writing a Ghost Story

Dear Reader,

Haunting Miss Trentwood began as an exercise to understand how my parent felt about losing both of their parents.

I researched adult (or midlife) orphans, which is such an important, and under-recognized topic. I’m certain the public library thought I was going through some deep trouble because I read every book on the topic.

I became fascinated and terrified by the idea that one day, my parents will die, and with them goes the only people in the world who have seen it all happen to me. They exist as a living record and archive of the traumatic moments in my life. They are my anchor.

I asked the questions: What happens to someone who loses both their parents? How do we continue, knowing there will never be anyone who knows us entirely? How do we keep the spirit of our parents alive?

Soon thereafter, I began dreaming about ghosts. Specifically, one ghost: the ghost of Mary’s father. I didn’t know why he was there. Mary certainly didn’t know why he was there. But we both knew his presence would forever change the plot and purpose of Haunting Miss Trentwood née Trentwood’s Orphan.

Looking back, I can see influences of Hamlet involved in the inspiration of Haunting Miss Trentwood. We so often underestimate the importance of the role our parents have in our lives, or the lack thereof if our parents are not a part of our lives. We underestimate the influence our parents have on our judgments and decisions.

This book is my attempt to understand and cope with the idea that one day, my parents will be gone, but I hope to keep their spirits alive within me. Is that crazy? Am I alone in worrying about this? Are you wondering how in the hell can I make an entertaining read about such a morbid topic?

Don’t worry, I wonder the same thing all the time. It’s a challenge, but it’s one I’m excited to face. Which, in retrospect, seems kind of weird, doesn’t it?

All the best,

Belinda

3 thoughts on “Why I’m Writing a Ghost Story

  1. It hasn’t bothered me to that extent, because I believe in the continuity of the person after death. I naturally get sad sometimes that I won’t see them again in this lifetime. However, I do feel that I commune with my Mother and, in a way, she watches over me. The feeling that came over me when my mother died was that now I am now my own mother (or parent), and it is time to grow up. I thought I was grown up before, but this is a different feeling!

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    1. Anne, thank you for this amazing comment! This is definitely how Mary feels about her mother’s death… she accepts it, and has grown up a bit more. Her father’s death, on the other hand, has been a life-altering experience of a different sort. Even though she knew it was coming, there were residual feelings from an argument that was never resolved, and other issues from their past.

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I think that’s a healthy way to think of it, that you have become your own parent. I will have to keep that in mind.

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