Some of you know, and I think I mentioned it on the blog here, that I was the listowner of a mailing list called Ghostletters for a number of years. The idea behind Ghostletters, and its subtitle, was “Conversations between fictionl and historical characters.” If you wanted to write on the list, you had to do so in character (your “persona”). Your persona could be a historical person (e.g. Julius Caesar), a fictional character someone else created (e.g. Sherlock Holmes — everyone wanted to be Sherlock, it seems), or a fictional character of your own choosing, the option most of us took.
The other requirement of Ghostletters was that communications had to be done in epistolary form, i.e. letters. Well, that’s how it started, anyway; soon many of us couldn’t resist writing stories involving our characters, and the list filled with stories about our characters.
My original character was Jack O’Brian, a widowed bartender and restaurateur who had received most of his culinary training as a Commissaryman (now a Culinary Specialist) in the US Navy. Eventually my circle of characters grew to include his daughter, Mary Cecelia (no, it’s not spelled wrong; it’s on her birth certificate that way), a diminutive redhead with beautiful emerald-green eyes and a love of firearms, Father John J. Flanagan, a semi-retired Jesuit and inveterate smartass (there was a Fr. Flanagan at my old parish in Chicago, and the character was a tribute to him), and many more characters, too many to list in a JJIJ post.
A somewhat close approximation of Mary Cecelia O’Brian. Definitely the attitude. (Image credit: yeko / 123RF Stock Photo)
After about ten years and Lord knows how many arguments, tantrums, pissing contests, and people leaving in a huff, I was looking to get out, and when the previous owner (the creator of the list) returned, I prevailed on her to reassume control of the list, and extracted myself. Sadly, after repeated attemps to breathe life back into Ghostletters, it was decided that the only humane thing to do was to take it out and shoot it.
It was a lot of fun, though, and I met some outstanding people, two of whom are no longer with us, one of whom invited me to be in her writer’s group, even though she lives in Michigan and I live in Georgia (thanks to Google Hangouts, I can be there even though I can’t be there in person). I also met some remarkable writers. In all, it was a good experience.