The Likes of Betsy Phillips

Allow me to say this–if my complaining about how thoroughly “religion” equals “Christian” at The Tennessean the two or three times I’ve brought it up on Pith are “countless complaints” then there’s no wonder why they think they’re writing a lot of stories about non-Christian religions.

Also, I’m delighted by “the likes of Betsy Phillips.” Like I have some reputation. And not a good one.

And Then There Was Yesterday Evening…

Every once in a while, I stumble across mentions of A City of Ghosts that I just don’t even know what to do with. Someone saying something about how she loved this turn of phrase or someone else talking about how the only thing she wants to do is dip back into it. And it makes me feel so, not even proud, something bigger than proud. I feel so humbled and amazed. I mean, I expected people I knew to buy it and I hoped people I didn’t know would buy it, but to hear people talking about it like they love it–and not for my benefit–just makes me feel like the luckiest person ever. It makes me feel like I made something bigger than me, that can go on without me.

Anyway, I got home and made dinner for the Redheaded Kid and the Butcher. My lawn was mowed and my kitchen was cleaned. The Butcher tried to act like he’d done it, but I think we all know the truth! The Red-Headed Kid is our brownie! And we were all watching TV and the Red-Headed Kid was like “God damn it, Betsy. Your house is so full of ghosts that, if you sit still for longer than five seconds, you freeze to death.” Then he pulled a blanket around him.

“It’s not that cold in here,” I said.

“Because the spirits like you.”

I think I’ve finally become the creepy person I always hoped I would be.


Is anticipation the best feeling? I can’t remember if we’ve talked about this, but I say, “yes.” It’s delicious and terrible and I love it.

My secret dream is to write a scary ghost story. I mean, yes, once you’ve read Jackson, it’s like why try? But part of it is that she does it so well in a way that is so beautiful that I can’t help but want to try myself. So, I’ve been mulling over all the things that make ghost stories not scary to me. And I think that one of the things is that you have to manage anticipation. People have to both want and not want to know what happens next.

I’m rereading the Ben & Sue thing now. I’m not completely happy with Moll’s voice–my narrator. It’s obviously better to have a first-person narrator, but I’m not sure she sounds right or consistent. And I think I may need to put back in a thing I cut.

But otherwise, I’m feeling good about it. Except that I’m nervous it hits too close to home in some ways, that I’m shitting in my own bed, so to speak. But what can you do? The story is the story.