Eyre Affairs

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Location: New York, United States

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"I was shut up in a room where there is a ghost till after dark..." ~ Jane Eyre

An article today discussed how a 165 year-old whaling boat in Mystic Seaport has an apparition appearing to various visitors in various moments.

Personally, I don't believe in these types of ghosts. I know there are people who do, but in the end I believe these images of apparitions stem from somewhere else, not from any supernatural world. However, one can't ignore the presence of ghosts in poetry and prose, even from Homer's time. The most profound ghost stories of them all coming from Poe.

I believe that Poe wrote ghost stories as a catharsis. We all have ghosts in our head, and sometimes a person is unable to cope with their haunting presence, so perhaps Poe projected the ghosts in his head into Miss Annabel Lee. If you have studied the poet, you will see the correlation between Poe's romantic life and Annabel Lee in the verse. http://www.poemhunter.com/p/m/poem.asp?poet=3094&poem=14890

The supposed ghost on the whaling boat resides in a kingdom by the sea, just as Annabel Lee resides in one of her own. Last night, Cassie and I were discussing what can trigger a ghost to haunt one's head. It could be as minute as inhaling the scent of a particular perfume or as immense as being emerged in a large city. There is sometimes a sweetness when experiencing moments which invoke the ghosts of friends past and family past. Its the ghosts of one's romantic past that always seem to be the most haunting.

Perhaps some of this explains our fascination with ghosts. After all, they are what bring us closest to the deepest of our emotions. Believing in ghosts becomes a Catch-22. The soul of the ghost is not at rest, nor is yours. Yet, there is a strong desire for it to remain because we want to still feel as close to that person as we did once.

I recently saw Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind one grey afternoon after a long day at work. The film's message about embracing the ghosts in one's head hit me over mine. I must admit that they are more in my head than in my soul; Poe's Lee haunts his soul. I don't think I would erase the ghosts from my memory; I embrace them. They are ghosts for a reason, are they not? Almost all of them have become as transparent for me as a white sheet.

Still, I do feel sadness when they appear. There is a sense of the ridiculousness of what conjures my ghosts of loves past, yet I avoid many of them at all costs. Don't provoke a ghost, for that would be very unwise. I don't eat oreo cookies anymore but because I see one and in my head I am forced to think about what it is like to feel a true, and I mean a true, passionate, undying love. Just like Poe, I have two kingdoms by the sea that haunt me. I think it will take years, if not a decade, to go back to the city of Boston. Thankfully I have not smelled Polo Sport on any man in 5 years. As much as I love Frantoni's pizza, I can't walk in there anymore. I once threw the most beautiful dress out because I couldn't bear to look at it in fear of being haunted by a ghost. It was brown with pink brocade on it; a Betsey Johnson. Jeff Buckley's voice could be part of this post's soundtrack in addition to arias by Cecilia Bartoli. It took three trips down Second Avenue before I stopped getting teary over passing a Dunkin' Donuts.

A Dunkin' Donuts.


Or, rather, believable.

Perhaps I will tell their story one day. Or perhaps I will not. It depends on which ghosts I believe are worth sharing...

We all have ghosts, remorse, dreams, things we love and hate. One day something in life - a word, a phrase, something in a book, a beautiful woman - clicks, and part of that world takes on a special meaning. And you realize you have a story to tell. ~ A. Reverte


Blogger afromabq said...

the ghost i hate the most is the one that appears when i'm feeling down about myself. even though my ex is still alive and well, i can still hear him express his negativity towards me when i'm in a funk. damn ghost!

2:45 AM  
Blogger Charlie Mc said...

Makes me think of a line in a song I love very much "Ordinary World" by Duran Duran....

"Came in from a rainy Thursday
On the avenue
Thought I heard you talking softly

I turned on the lights, the TV
And the radio
Still I can't escape the ghost of you"

I think we all have those ghosts. I have ghosts of people that have come and gone, some living and some that have passed. Up until about a year or two ago, I avoided certain places, songs, and things. Now, I avoid "living in the past" or letting things from my past limit or negotiate the course my current existence. I fondly remember the "ghosts" that come and go, smile and remember the great times and learn from the hard lessons some may have taught me.

7:20 AM  
Blogger bob said...

10 points for posting (even indirectly) about poe. 5 points for fitting bartoli and buckley in the same sentence.

have a ghost-free day. and a donut.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Clearlykels said...

It is true we all have our ghosts that get us right in the pit of our stomach. I am just starting to get over a certain hospital that brings on flash backs so real I think I am going through it all again. Luckily, as ghosts seem to be transparent they all seem to pass by and we can see through them. Great post!

10:07 AM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

A ~ I think that was very profound; indeed, certain ghosts appear based on how we feel about ourselves in the moment. Well said.

C ~ I am still in the avoid stage, and your words are inspiring to me.

B ~ Thanks for the points! Hmmm. I really am thinking about a donut today. Its a terribly good idea.

K ~ Your mention of a hospital brought up a ghost on this end. But yes, these ghosts are transparent and lack life.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Wow, this post really made me stop and think. My ghosts reside in certain smells. Places don't really take me back, but a particular smell will feel like I've been punched in the stomach. And dreams - certain people haunt me in my dreams so vivdly that I wake up crying and it usually takes anywhere from an hour or all day to shake it. They're so real, I have to continue to remind myself that what I dreamed is not true until I can see clearly again. Those are definitely my ghosts.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I'm surrounded by one of those ghosts every single day.

His old desk, his handwriting on a post-it note, his computer. I sit here and stare at it everyday. Out of 64 hours of music stored on this computer that is on shuffle daily, one song brings me to tears. One song brings me rushing back to Florence, a Ford Fiesta, a hotel room to die for, one-way streets, incredible sex and Michaelangelo's David.

I could delete the song from the computer, but it would break my heart more to do that. As hard as it is, it would be harder for me to let it go completely than to keep it, remember it, learn from it and never, ever, ever let someone break me down like that again.

And next time I go to Florence, it will be with someone who truly loves and appreciates me...

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Yes. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind makes me ache because it is so real to me. I think that mourning never really goes away...it fades but then intensifies with sites, sounds and smells. I love it and hate it at the same time. Using OUTRAGEOUS shampoor by Revlon takes my breathe away, so does Curve cologne for men.

11:32 AM  
Blogger ThoughtsGalore said...

I can listen to Norah Jones again.

University of Arizona anything doesn't bother me like it used to.

I find myself going back there too much lately. I don't know why, either. Any ideas?

My ghosts seem to sneak up on me and tap me on my shoulder. It's a conversation that waits until my dreams. How about that?

Thinking of you...

7:23 PM  

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