Ghost Stories #1: Becoming
Some of you might recall that I started a second Substack in January called Ghost Stories. I’ve since done a pretty great job of neglecting it. More recently, I’ve warmed to the idea of including Ghost Stories as its own section under the Think List umbrella, sans the “A Story and a Song” podcasts. (I love singing and playing guitar, but when it comes to listening to someone sing and play guitar, I think you can all do much better.)
So welcome to the new section of Think List.
Ghost Stories will include personal stories, short fictions, and other errant thoughts. If you’re not interested in any of that, just uncheck the box for Ghost Stories in your subscription settings.
To get things going, here’s the first thing I wrote under the Ghost Stories moniker back in January.
I’ve been becoming who I already was for a while now. It happens sometimes. Whenever the opposite isn't happening. But even then... People wonder where the years go. Well, I know where a bunch of them go. They go to becoming who we always were but couldn’t allow ourselves to be just yet.
It’s like the other day. I bought a donut at an airport in Thailand. But I didn’t eat it right away. I waited until I was back home, in a different city in Thailand. I was standing in my kitchen, but only barely, when I opened up the donut-box-colored donut box. And there it was. The thing that would only a moment later bring me back to being a kid in a kitchen in a cottage in Eagle River, Wisconsin. Back to all those times from way back when I was already me but didn’t know it yet.
I took a bite and saw the kitchen. And I saw me, or him. And I wanted to put my hands on his shoulders and give him a little shake and say, “Now listen. You just keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t go chasing after other people’s bullshit. You just stick with your own bullshit. Make friends with it. Find ways to make it work. Turn it into manure. Nourish the soil. That sort of thing.”
I wanted to say, “There’s nothing else for you to become. And if you do become something else, you’re just going to start following the breadcrumbs back to this, here, now.” But he grabbed ahold of me first. Shook me much harder than I'd thought to shake him. Said the exact same thing.