Monday, May 21, 2012

The Ghost of a Memory

I'm haunted.

I have a ghost...

This isn't the kind of ghost that floats down abandoned halls, or stares wistfully from lonesome windows.

It doesn't shriek, it doesn't howl, and it doesn't weep (although sometimes I do).

This is a ghost that lives inside my mind, and it is now twenty years old.

You see, twenty years ago, I drew a picture.

This, in and of itself, is not surprising; I've been drawing since long before kindergarten, and will continue to draw (and paint, and sculpt) until I die or until my hands can no longer hold a pencil, whichever comes first.

The picture itself isn't important, though I remember it clearly.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am terrified of clowns, and as a consequence, draw scary clowns very, very well.  This particular nightmare became Circus the Clown, a terrifying monster that still shows up in my stories from time to time.

No, the picture isn't important, but the memories around it are.

It was mid-spring of 1992, and I was waiting at my house for two of my friends to come over.  Most of the evenings that we were able to get together, we spent creating comics.  We had our universe filled with super-powered people, cyborgs, autumn spirits, and yes, scary clown monsters.

My friends hadn't arrived yet, and I whiled away the early evening drawing.

I was listening to Enya's Shepherd Moons (great music to draw by), sitting at my desk in my room, lit only by my desk light.  The windows were open, and the scent of the air cleaned by that afternoon's thunderstorms drifted in.

That peculiar, blue-gray color that tints the world by twilight filtered through storm clouds painted my room and everything in it, except for the newsprint paper I was drawing on, which was bright white and deepest scarlet (red is an important color for clown monsters).

I remember looking up, realizing that an hour had gone by without my knowing it.  I looked around at my twilight-painted room, then down at my half-finished picture.  The music, the smell of the evening, the color of the light, the red pencil in my hand....

I felt a moment of profound, complete peace.

This is it, I thought.  This is what I want my life to be...

I want to live in this blue moment, creating worlds of words and images, forever.

Longer, if I can get it...

I was twenty-one then.

I'm forty-one now.

That life hasn't come around yet.

Over the years, the usual things happened:  I worked, went to school, met a girl, got married, had kids, got got in the way.

My two friends and I don't get the chance to get together very often anymore. I'm lucky if I get to see one of them more than twice a year.  The other, I haven't seen or heard from in about three years.

I don't have the picture anymore; it was stored with a lot of others in my dad's garage, and lost when it burned down a couple of months after he died.

The dream became a memory.

The memory became a ghost.

A ghost that still haunts me.

Every now and again, when the world turns that blue-gray...when the wind moves the scent of the rain just so...when I listen to that music...and especially when I am reminded of how much I love to create, that ghost rises into the blue twilight.

I'm sitting in that same room right now, though it's a tv room instead of my old bedroom.  My ten year old son is sitting in a chair exactly where my desk once sat, and tears are biting at my eyes while the ghost stands behind me, waiting to be resurrected back into dream.

Don't get me wrong...I love life.  I love my children, and I love my job working with children with autism.

But dear Lord, I want to feel that peace again.

I still want that to be my life.

The ghost is awake all the time now, and I won't allow it to go back to ground.

I'm haunted.

And as long as I am, I know I'm still alive, still remembering.

Still creating.
Thanks for reading my ranting,


  1. I loved reading your story.  Very well written and I liked the content of the story.  Thanks for posting it.  

  2. I loved your story.  It was well written and I can relate to it.  Thanks for posting it.  

  3. You've poured out your heart in this one. I do believe that God creates us for a purpose and delights when it is fulfilled. Hang on to the dream . . . dreams indeed still do come true!

  4. Don't let it go, Brad. You were meant for this.