Friday, August 01, 2008


above - a doodle from my sketchbook after a few nights of great sleep here (which had been impossible back home!)

Like any good story, my stay here at the Thurber House has many chapters. Each day delights me with something new that I discover here in Columbus - or an event that I participate with as part of my writer-in-residency.

(2 nights ago I met with the monthly Young Writer's Workshops held here at the house. Above, 3 of the teen writers along with Kelly, the wondrous coordinator of the group, Pat Shannon, and a table full of snacks...mmmm)

So as I said, the surprises go on and on....(more on that later) but now back to the GHOST.

I knew about the Ghost before my arrival. You see, when I was being interviewed for the residency, I asked Pat Shannon, the Children's Director of Thurber House, if my attic apartment had air conditioning (come on - Ohio in the summer gets hot! - and YES, she assured me that I'd be fully ensconced in a/c!). Then it was her turn for questions, namely "How do you feel about ghosts?"

Of course I'd heard all about the ghost that is supposed to live here. James Thurber himself wrote about the ghost in "My Life and Hard Times" with the hilarious chapter "The Night The Ghost Got In".

("I had just stepped out of the bathtub and was busily rubbing myself with a towel when I heard the steps." from "My Life and Hard Times"....and YES, that's the "TUB")

So immediately I told Pat - that I was excited about meeting the ghost and didn't tell her the part of me that was saying, "But it kind of freaks me out!"

In preparing for my visit I was also told about a ghostly encounter by last year's Children's Author in Residence, Lisa Yee. She and I laughed about it. No big deal.

Still as cool/weird/possibly scary as it sounded - I was slightly unnerved at being all alone in a big house with a spirit who had no name. I'm bad enough at parties with people I don't know - I wasn't sure I could handle being in a house with a ghost who was a stranger to me.

So when I had what I am describing as my "ghost encounter" I had to laugh - because obviously, this was a ghost who wanted me here. Who wanted me to know he/she/it was not there to "haunt" me. This ghost wanted me to laugh - and to know that a sense of humor was the aura that surrounded it!

How do I know this?

Once I arrived here two weeks ago - I set up my stuff to make me feel at home - including the GHOSTBUSTER kit my son and wife made me for my birthday this year - as preparation for coming to the Thurber House.

The kit includes:
1) a home-made Electro-Magnetic "YES/NO" ghost detection device
2) a "spy-kit" motion detector
3) one xtremely strong flashlight
4) a large photo of the Thurber house, where the two attic windows (where I live here) open to reveal a picture of me and a POP-OUT picture of the "ghost"

Now you need to know that the little attic "windows" that open up - have to be pried open with fingers to see what's behind them, much like an advent calendar.

So imagine my surprise when on Morning 3 of my stay - I discovered one window was wide open ....and which window was it?

YES! The GHOST window had somehow popped open and the ghost that my son had made to spring out was STICKING OUT OF THE PICTURE! First reaction? I'm packing up and moving into a hotel!....But then it hit me: the ghost was welcoming me to the house. The ghost was telling me he/she/it was funny. The ghost liked the present my family made. (Now if only the ghost would make me breakfast - I'd be pretty darn happy!)

So thank you Ghost for letting me know you're hip to my style. If you want to have drinks - I'm an iced coffee kind of guy!

editors note: while writing this I ran down to the car to get something and when I came back up - one of the doors to my apartment - one that I have NEVER closed in two weeks - was closed!



adrienne said...

#1 - The Ghostbusters Kit is awesome.
#2 - The pop-out ghost is the most awesome part of it.
#3 - See how the movies are perpetuating negative ghost stereotypes? Someone needs to found an organization to put a stop to this.

Lisa Yee said...

Please give the ghost my regards!