“The Family Ghost” | Drunk Monkeys

“The Family Ghost” was actually inspired by a twitter thread. I know, very 2020.

Read “The Family Ghost” here!

The Twitter thread was about creepy things children have said to their parents. One person said that their kid talked about watching them before they were born. Weird and compelling and great inspiration for a story.


Spoilers below for my own story (I’ve never had to write that before!)


Rather than write and rewrite like I did for “Caretaker” and “Disappeared,” I wrote the basic structure for this story in one fevered session, thinking, “Hey haha wouldn’t it be neat if a lady was being haunted by the ghost of her unborn child. Yeah. That’s cool.” I believe I was also in the middle of watching Netflix’s “You,” which is why I chose Joe as a placeholder name and it just kind of stuck. Hopefully, this Joe comes off better than his namesake.

I’m a natural planner, so using this process (or lack of process?) was new to me. I feel very lucky that some choices just fit well together, like recalling “My Boyfriend’s Back” and giving the narrator a distinct, jovial voice. I still think, however, I’m a planner at heart. Of course, looking back now I see things I might have changed. Why Joe imagined the ghost as an, “anonymized black blob” instead of a girl, as Rosa had previously described to him, I have no clue. Whoops. Poor narrator. Still better than Joe from “You,” anyway.

Recommended Reading

Drunk Monkeys has this wonderful column called One Perfect Episode, and I am honored that I got to be published alongside Nadine Darling’s thoughts on The Simpsons episode “Selma’s Choice.” Her description of the “almost effortless sweetness of the show and era” during this season is totally spot on. She captures why these early seasons of the show are my favorites.

Check out “The Family Ghost,” “Selma’s Choice,” and other great stuff in Volume 5, Number 1 of Drunk Monkeys. And send me your thoughts on twitter @emmabeltami!

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