The Haunting Story

March 24, 2002

Welcome to Wyndspirit Dreams! I have an ongoing project of typing up the journal Iíve kept since I was twelve. Recently I ran across an entry that brought the memories flooding back. When I was thirteen, I read a book called The Ghosts of Lee House. The story was about two brother-sister pairs of teenagers, Laurie and Phil and Jamie and Andy. Laurie and Phil moved next door to this haunted house and became involved in investigating the ghost with their neighbors, Jamie and Andy. Well, I loved a good ghost story, and I was so disappointed at the ending when the ghost turned out to be fake! Then and there, I decided to write my own version of the story, to write exactly the type of ghost story I liked to readÖwith a real ghost. I started writing a story I called, very originally, The Haunting of Lee House. I stole the names and ages of the main characters, but there the resemblance ended. In the journal entry, I was considering changing the name to simply The Haunting, because as I wrote the story it was turning out that Jamie was the one who was haunted, not the house. I also talked about using a beautiful folder I had recently purchased to hold the story. That folder is still with the original story, although so faint and battered the picture is barely visible. I should throw it away, but it has too much of a history.

Little did I know, when I started yet another of my many stories, what The Haunting would become for me. I started it when I was thirteen years old, and finished it when I was nineteen. I consider it a novel, although the stack of handwritten pages typed up to be much shorter than I expected. Throughout my teens, The Haunting was always there, the story I wrote exactly the way I wanted, whenever I happened to feel inspired. I fell head over heels in love with Jamie and Andy and Laurie and Phil. Jamie became the main character, not my alter ego, but my teenage ideal. She was beautiful, she was mystical, she was tragically haunted. I had no idea why she was haunted till the story was almost doneóI discovered things along with the characters. I had no clue what was going to happen next. It was like reading an excellent book that never ended. I wrote on it sitting out on the porch roof on the first warm days of March. I thought about it while I biked for hours on summer evenings, then I would come home and write on it up in my bedroom curled up on the chest that served as a window seat, enjoying the balmy summer night. I wrote on it in the living room in the midst of family chaos. I wrote on it on the hour-long bus ride to school. Reading through the stack of loose-leaf pages is almost as good as looking at a photo album of pictures of me throughout all my teenage years. My handwriting changes from clumsy and untutored to the stylized writing I affected during different periods of my teens to the smooth, simple writing I still use today. My style of writing changes and matures as well, till towards the end I can begin to see hints of the polished writing that would emerge in later years.

I still remember the Eureka! moment when I realized why Jamie was haunted. Then, when I was nineteen years old, I finished The Haunting. I pacified the ghosts and got Jamie and Phil together for good. Then I wrote The End, and I felt like Iíd lost my best friends. Years went by, and I often thought of them, wondering what happened to them. Did Jamie and Phil ever have children? Did Laurie really marry Andy, or did she find somebody else? What scars did they all bear? Every few years I would find my pretty folder and lose myself in Jamieís story again, and wonder afresh whatever became of them.

You can guess what happened eventually. I decided I needed to write a sequel so I could find out what happened to them all. The sequel is barely started, and already there are some surprises. The biggest surprise is that now the story focuses on the very ordinary Laurie instead of the mystical Jamie. Maybe Iím finally growing up? ButÖwere the ghosts real? I canít wait to find out!

Wyndspirit Dreams