Ghostwritten Posthumously

  Now that he was dead, everything was different.  No more desire or ambition, no more pressures or expectations.  All of that had gone the instant his human life had expired.

   As a ghost, at first he wondered how he would pass the time.  Even on the Other Side, there was still time to be passed, or rather the act of doing or not doing.  He could choose to do nothing and idle away his afterlife in a state of benign neutrality.  Or he could do stuff: like travel the world, minus the requirements of a plane ticket, accommodations, and other things which had been considerations when he was alive and wanting to travel the world.  Or he could haunt whomever or whatever he saw as haunt-worthy.  These were things he could do, yet none of them piqued his interest.  Now that he was dead and could do whatever the hell he wanted, whenever the hell he wanted, there was only one thing he wanted to do: he wanted to write.  When this feeling first arose, he was baffled: You mean to tell me, you want to spend your afterlife writing.  What’s the point?  There were no longer any goals to attain as a writer, no longer any existential angst which needed ventilation, no poisons which needed secreting.  Yet he did realize, there was still desire, expect it was now in a different form, it was desire pure and undiluted.  I t wasn’t desire to be somebody, or make something out of himself through writing, it wasn’t desire attached to an ulterior motive, it was simply the desire to write stories, period.  Writing about flying a kite in a rainstorm, or swimming with mermaids in a violet lagoon, or riding a bicycle to the beach on hot summer day to buy a hot dog from a vendor named Freddy.  Stories, of that nature, simple and endowed with charm and whimsy and crackle.  Stories that would make him feel alive.  Was that it then?  Was there something to being alive that maybe he had missed, something indefinably essential which made every second in his old, sufferable human skin utterly precious.  You don’t necessarily want to be alive, he told himself, but you want to feel alive.  Hmm, maybe some of the ol existential mojo remained.

   If he could speak to the young, aspiring writers of the world, the only advice he would give them: Write as if you’re already dead.  In that sense, they would be exempt from opinions and judgments and ambitions, they would be dead and simply writing to feel alive—no more, no less.  Young writers of the world, you are dead and freed from your makeshift chains of obligation and meaning, now sit down and get to it!  Yes, he thought, that would be some fine, sound advice, some genuinely useful advice in a world that was filled with so much unsound and useless advice decreeing itself useful.  Yet he was not inspired to haunt young writers with advice from beyond the grave.  No, he’d be busy.  flying a kite in a rainstorm, swimming with mermaids in a violet lagoon, and riding his bicycle to the beach on a hot summer day to buy a hot dog from a vendor named Freddy.  He’d be a ghost writing stories full of life.  Even dead, the irony was almost too much to bear.   

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at johnbiscello.blogspot.com. Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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