This is just a brief one, but…
I’ve been reading A Lesson in Vengeance, been part way through it for a while. The combination of that book, plus my own meditations, has left me musing on the nature of ghosts and how they work in stories. I don’t think I’m saying anything revolutionary when I say that, while ghosts are often said to have unfinished business, they can also be interpreted as the unfinished business of those they haunt.
Ghosts make a neat device for unwelcome and intrusive thoughts.
Ghosts are old memories which rise up unbidden. They come bearing anguish, dread, melancholy, bittersweet, and sometimes nostalgia or love. Remember, not every haunting is violent and woeful—just many of them.
I wonder to what degree ghost stories can function for me (or anyone) as a way to face the past. I wonder about the rituals used to put ghosts to rest, and the ordeals characters go through to do that in their various ghost stories. And I wonder whether there’s something short that I could put together that would explore all of this. What might be done to transform a bad haunting into a peaceful or even pleasant one?
It’s just a feeling, a little tickle of intrigue mixed with old pain and joy. Just right for a ghost story.