credits: CameraRAW Photography


Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but I believe in being haunted.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but I believe my mom’s ghost lay a hand on my shoulder shortly after her suicide.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but several of my friends have encountered ghosts, and I believe every single one of them.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but I believe a ghost yelled in my ear during a retreat in a famously haunted former hospital, now arts center.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but I believe the grandmother I never met saw a ghost in her kitchen.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but when I was young, I upset my sister by saying “I’m not Gayle. I’m the ghost of Gayle.” I upset myself with the same words now.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but when I read this in Sarah Manguso’s 300 Arguments: “I might see  (a ghost) tonight but even then I wouldn’t believe in ghosts. I’d believe in that ghost” I nodded in recognition.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but I believe my husband saw his grandmother’s ghost in her Copenhagen stairwell shortly after she died.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but when that ghost yelled in my ear, I told myself to be curious, not scared.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but I like to imagine the ghost my grandmother saw in her kitchen. When I was a child, I imagined it as a sort of mist sliding across the floor; now I picture an upright ghost, as tall as her.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but I believe they are hungry.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but when I posted a picture from that haunted art center, someone pointed out the orbs glowing above me and I stared at them a long time.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but my mother believed her mother was her guardian angel. I know that’s not quite the same as a ghost, but close.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but if my mom’s ghost returns, this time I won’t shrug her away.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but I wrote a book narrated by ghosts and they’re as real to me as my neighbors.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but I want my book to bring its ghosts justice.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?

No, but when I wrote this line in the book:
(maybe story is the blood of ghosts)
my whole body shivered, letting me know it was true.

TAGS: , , , ,

GAYLE BRANDEIS is the author, most recently, of the novel in poems, Many Restless Concerns: The Victims of Countess Bathory Speak in Chorus (A Testimony) (Black Lawrence Press). Other books include the memoir The Art of Misdiagnosis (Beacon Press), the poetry collection The Selfless Bliss of the Body (Finishing Line Press), the craft book, Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write (HarperOne), and the novels The Book of Dead Birds (HarperCollins), which won the Bellwether Prize for Fiction of Social Engagement judged by Barbara Kingsolver, Toni Morrison, and Maxine Hong Kingston, Self Storage (Ballantine), Delta Girls (Ballantine), and My Life with the Lincolns (Henry Holt BYR), which was chosen as a state-wide read in Wisconsin. Her poetry, essays, and short fiction have been widely published in places such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, O (The Oprah Magazine), The Rumpus, Salon, Longreads, and more, and have received numerous honors, including a Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Award, Notable Essays in Best American Essays 2016 and 2019, the QPB/Story Magazine Short Story Award and the 2018 Multi Genre Maverick Writer Award. She teaches at Sierra Nevada College and Antioch University Los Angeles.

One response to “Gayle Brandeis: The TNB Self-Interview”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *