My Literary Writings

+ Ghostwriter Wanna be – The Movie

The “Ghostwriter” movie is leaving town. It is ending this week, so I drop what I am doing and race down to the theatre. I want to be a full fledged ghostwriter myself, so this film is a must-see. Hopefully, I can learn from this much-acclaimed movie how a real ghoster operates. If I pay close attention, I might end up getting  hired by some major celebrity to pen their life’s story. This guy in the movie  was offered $250,000! I could live with that!

Being in the Camelot  Theatre that also has a lounge, I ordered a gin and tonic to take to my seat.   There I sat, sipping my cocktail with pen in hand, ready to scribble in the   dark, the details, demeanors, and demographics of this writer on the job.   Remember the movie Sunset Boulevard where Gloria Swanson addresses “all those  wonderful people out there in the dark.” That’s what I was feeling until the curtain went up.

Now to the movie. With Roman Polanski’s flair for   bleakness, our rather naïve ghostwriter is spirited off in the middle of the  night to an isolated island off the New England coast where he is to interview  his subject, the former prime minister of Britain! Pierce Brosnan! I dream of  getting a client as handsome and sophisticated as he with such a glamorous life story.

As our hero is settling in, he finds out that the previous   ghostwriter died the week before! He supposedly got drunk, met with an ‘accident’, and his body washed up on this lonely New England beach. Well okay, writers can get overly emotional. I myself would have more reserve.

The next day in the village, our ghoster is mugged! Thugs stole a manuscript he was  given to deliver. As the story gains momentum, I remind myself to first try a client that leads a simpler life. Maybe one who lives in a beautiful mansion   instead of the cement bunker Polanski provides our Prime Minister, his body guards, a scary wife, and a stand-off, suspicious staff.

As our friend finally gets to interview the Minister, the television interrupts with blaring reports that our subject PM is accused of being involved in war crimes! Well, that is another story indeed! This ends up with guns and body guards fending off wild anarchists calling for his head while pounding on his car.

By now, I am gulping the gin and tonic I brought to my seat.

Our ghost’s personal life begins to unravel while that of the PM heats up. Well I wasn’t expecting that! I was eagerly scribbling helpful notes in the dark, but never considered this turn of events! If I myself should hook up with a similar client, would I end up being embroiled in this sort of escapade? Would I have to dodge bullets For $250K?

Events darken as the plot thickens.

Since our beer and  sandwich ghost is rather handsome in a naive sort of way, he is surreptitiously seduced by the PM’s mysterious and scary wife. Well now. Ghosts have normal feelings but certainly are expected to remain dispassionate. They should have no personality – they are only ghosts – non-entities in the lives of their clients!

I assume that ghosters just ask questions – take notes – and type. Not consort with their client’s entourage.

Meanwhile, back at the bunker, he is analyzing the dead ghost’s unfinished manuscript in the very room that man stayed in. His belongings are still there! Creepy. The hidden clues he stumbles on makes him realize that his own life may be in danger. Was this why the guy washed up on the beach miles from the accident?

Armored CIA operatives are now on to our friend, so he escapes by leaping off the ferry as it leaves the island’s port! Yipes! “Polanski has churned up a splendidly palpable sense of dread off the shores of Cape Cod,” says a reviewer of this film. “Oscar performances,” especially by the icy wife – while in bed with our hero? Well that’s just fine. What literary recommendations has he given me on the ins and outs of ghosting procedures with a perfect stranger…

The murder and mayhem that follows I cannot divulge here in case you haven’t seen this superb film, but the brilliant Polanski provides an ending that is a stunner.

 As for me, I know I can do this biography stuff. My own qualifications are impressive. I have been a technical writer at a major university, a webmaster, and an editor. Plus, I am in a Critique Group. I‘ve learned to interpret their stuff with a Bostonian level of literary sophistication, adding my own sense of drama with succincticality. I can add life and spice to the most mundane. Perfect for ghosting with clients who need their ordinary lives perked up.

I did purchase Sarah Palin’s ridiculously successful biography because you had to know she hired a humdinger ghostwriter. Not much there to glean from, though. I’m short on “golly gee-whiz gotcha’s.” Maybe I should check out Winston Churchill’s hallowed memoirs instead.

Patricia Moloney Dugas


TWITTER – The Death of Depth  — Is brevity the soul of wit?

Is brevity truly the soul of wit — or twittered tidbits of the witless?

Exeunt preponderance and perspicacity.   Enter brevity, abbreviation, and bombast!

With 140 to play with in Twitterland, there is no time/space to dawdle with depth and dimension.

As we stumble over truncated Tweet codes, we sense the tension of half-thought thoughts. These dictums, once struck, can never be retrieved. 140 meager, incomplete characters have been sent off into the literary abyss. Our souls entailed.

Will we ever again have time to ruminate, recollect, or reminisce? Must we wade through lists of gobbledies hoping for a glimpse of a 140-penned profundity?

Alas that it should come to this….  A world of tweeny, teeny, twitters…

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