Today author Annalisa Crawford has an exciting true ghost story to share with us! You might remember that I reviewed (and adored) Annalisa's short story collection That Sadie Thing last June for Reading / Watching / Listening To.... Now she has just released a new book, Our Beautiful Child, and it promises to be just as brilliant.
I have a habit of putting myself into my work – a characteristic, a thought I once had, a conversation been involved in. In the title story of my collection, Our Beautiful Child, I put in a conversation I would like to have, based on real events. I would love to hear if you have an alternative explanation!
When I was about 18 months old, we moved into a new house, brand new and built on the outskirts of the city. I don’t know when it started, but until the age of about three I was a prolific sleepwalker. (I’ve done it a couple of times as an adult too – very embarrassing!)
According to my mother, I used to turn on all the lights, and move our large leather settee and the TV around the living room. I’m not so sure it was me.
And here is my evidence:
- I was a tiny child – I don’t think I’d have been able to reach the light switches
- Our TV at the time was on a pedestal without wheels – it would have been much more likely to fall over than move, if I tried to push it. (Ahem, I actually discovered this when I was about four and a half!)
- Our living room was small, without much space to manoeuvre large objects like settees – indeed I have memories of my parents struggling to do it between them
Okay, I realise my evidence isn’t extensive. But I have circumstantial evidence too!
- The row of houses that we belonged to had a hedge running along the back of all the gardens – but in our garden, the hedge was dead and never grew back
- My grandmother ‘never felt settled’ in the house – her own words!
- Years later, when I was at school, there was a rumour that the school – which was on the other side of the dead hedge – was built on a graveyard. True story! (Okay, the words might have been Indian graveyard which gives it a little less credibility in England...)
So it’s over to you, did I play with ghosts when I was a child, or was I actually just very strong and stretchy?
I’d love to hear your ghost stories too – I’ve exhausted the internet, and need new ones!
“The Boathouse collects misfits. Strange solitary creatures that yearn for contact with the outside world, but not too much. They sit, glass in hand, either staring at the table in front of them, or at some distant point on the horizon.”
… so says the narrator of Our Beautiful Child. And he’s been around long enough to know.
People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.
Ella finds love, a moment too late; Rona discovers a beautiful ability which needs refining before she gets hurt; and Sally meets the captivating Murray, who threatens to ruin everything.
Three women. Three stories. One pub.