I am a ghost now. Well sort of. A ghost writer.
I have been summoned to write this book with a personal hero of mine. Someone whose posters I used to hang on bruised walls for inspiration.
Let’s just dissect that for a second, shall we? I won’t tell you who they are because I am a ghost. Which is my first point.
Being invisible is beyond my comprehension—this ghost thing. "Good luck dying," just flashed through my head. I am a talker. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and I was all, “Hey everyone, look at my blog!” Wrote a book about it. Have another coming. By nature, I talk. I am the opposite of ghost. I am a look-at-me-I’m-humanity kind of girl. I’m a HERE, touch me, I’m human like you girl. And now, as a ghost writer, I cannot be that woman. Which is fascinating. Isn’t it? Jamie has to be quiet. Jamie has to be words, but not her own.
I can’t tell you who this person is or I wouldn’t be ghostly. I’m cool with that. Most will never know. But I’m troubled that I can’t tell you how lovely they are and why. That is sad. All I can tell you is that I have to BE them. Being your idol is a little fucking weird, no? I fly out next month to be locked up with my idol so that I can BE THEM. That’s fucking bizarre and beautiful all rolled into one.
If this hero of mine asked me to be in a Starbucks for a day to just stare at them, no book…I’d be there. So this is all hella weird to me. I have to BE this idol, be their eyes, their mouth, fingertips, be where they were-in every hotel room at every milestone. I have to know the color of the bad carpeting and why they were crying. I have to be privy to things I shouldn’t be privy to, which scares me. I need to take the idol out and put in in the humanity chip.
I have known this for a few weeks now and I’ve been digesting it, trying to wrap my head and my heart and understanding around it. Talking to T about it, we decided the first rule of ghost writing is to UN idolize the idolized. I need to befriend them. I have to text them and be like, “Wtf, AJ just bit a kid…I’m THAT mom!” The older I get, the more I don’t idolize anyone. I love God and my family and I see the humanity in everyone. SO I thought it was sound advice from my husband and I took it and despite all the embarrassing parts of texting or calling or just saying stupid stuff on FB to them-it worked.
I had to learn to treat them like they were any other friend, and holy shmolies now they are. I’m being sarcastic with the “holy shmolies” OR I’d still be idolizing. I let this person see my humanity and they lent me theirs. Now I have a friend, who happened to do some really crazy beautiful things in their life, but is also struggling in so many ways and I respond when they get upset or scared like I would any other friend.
I lost an idol in some ways, but in a better way, I gained a true friend. I have to fly over to them and write a book, lock myself in and stare at the floor and get excited when we have exciting ideas and get tired when it’s time to get tired, and I know I’ll try to fight it and I will lose and pass out, but I have a another friend. A good one.
I can ghost write a friend’s book. That I can do.
I was thinking aloud (via email) to my friend how I am so happy this isn’t about multiple sclerosis. I’m not ready for another MS book. I live it. But can I do THIS? This is REALLY huge to me. My friend said, “J, that’s why I’m excited for you…you are so much more than your MS, whether it be your body, your mind, your heart, or your writing.” What a beautiful response to a hard question. At the risk of sounding cocky, I will say this--that was spot on. I am more than my MS, in so many ways this makes great sense. I can be a ghost.