Awkward Fantasy and Ghosts

Monday Morning Musings:

“We have grown to trust blindly in our senses of balance and reason, and I can see where the mind might fight wildly to preserve its own familiar stable patterns against all evidence that it was leaning sideways.”

–Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

The weather has been erratic. Storms followed by sunshine, but always hot, only the level of humidity changes. The volatile, vacillating moods are echoed in the movie we see about a woman with an abusive husband and their custody battle. Neither child wants to see the father, but the daughter, who is almost eighteen, doesn’t have to. It’s the ten-year-old son, Julian, who must submit to visiting his father in this movie that becomes an intense thriller, rather than a legal drama. After the movie, we walk through Old City, where ghosts still walk, flitting through gates to hover over flowers, and drift over the cobblestone streets.


Sun-chased charcoal clouds

tumble through the evening sky

bright blooms smile hello

Summer in Old City, Philadelphia



















We sip wine another night as the sky changes once again—blue turning grey. But we stay.

Wine glasses turn red,

echoes of the summer blooms

coloring the gloom


William Heritage Winery, NJ


















We travel to the New Jersey Fringe Festival in Hammonton, NJ—“Blueberry Capital of the World.” We see three short plays, funny, touching, strange. (It is fringe after all.)










Summer festivals

walk through human emotion,

taste laughter and tears

We see a play about two fantasy worlds colliding,

sliding together

the man who lives in a porno world

meets a woman

then hurled

into her action hero world.

We thought the script could be tightened,

some excised, some enlightened,

but it was silly fun—and we’d only just begun


when off to the next one

about a man with two cartoon character names

and a most awkward life,

not so much filled with strife,

rather loneliness and seeking to connect

(even when his house is wrecked)

it’s whimsical, with ukulele and narration

and women who give him quite an education

in their multiple roles in his life, unlucky as it is

somehow, we see some hope at the end in his.


We pause to shop and eat gelato


NJ Fringe Festival,
Hammonton, NJ


















walk through the flow, and then go

onto the next play

stay there in the small, hot basement room

listen to the man, the actor, speak,

we jump at every creak

we’ve seen him before

(someone opens the door

to cool the room a bit,

and still we sit).

Last year he performed here

serial murderer Jeffery Dahmer,

he is compelling, in this telling

of the ghosts and demons he has seen.

All the evidence leaning sideways,

We always

Try to make sense of what we see and fear

And here

With theater we sway a bit—wonder what is real

What did he see? What did he feel?

Is it all a metaphor for inner trauma,

Packaged as paranormal drama?

And does it matter if it is?

We take what he gives

entertainment and thoughtful reflection

we walk and talk in the direction

of our car. Then off to dinner, a day well spent

in this summer event.

The clouds fly by—

perhaps it’s my fantasy

to see ghosts and shadow figures in the sky.








I decided to play with form a bit today–Haibun and rhyme.

We saw the French movie, Custody. Trailer here. We went to the NJ Fringe Festival and saw, Wildest Fantasy, The Most Awkward Love Life of Peabody Magoo, and Ghost Stories.

We ate dinner at Mera Khana in Berlin, NJ, where I finally got my vegetable samosas. (Everything they make is delicious.)











26 thoughts on “Awkward Fantasy and Ghosts

  1. Very effective! I think it’s the wine punctuation you use 🙂 We get samoussas here, via the French and Portuguese colonies. I’ve been offered them a few times and they’ve been horribly greasy. I bet yours weren’t.

    • Wine punctuation. 🙂 Thanks. I literally write these in an hour or two on Monday mornings, so they’re not the most polished pieces.
      Yes, I’ve had greasy and heavy samosas, too, so I don’t order them in many places, but these are delicious–and the sauces, green chili and yogurt are soooo good. We thought this place had closed, but then discovered that they only had problems with their phones.

  2. I admire your weekend forays: festivals, wine, food, and best of all gelato. How I remember the supreme taste in Italy.

    Good way to re-charge the battery of mind and soul . . .

  3. You’re good at watching edgy films – they fill my dreamscape with too much dark, so I tend to avoid them. But the rest of your day is full of light and fun! And clouds – full of YES, ghosts and shadow-dancers. xo

    • Thank you, Pam. I do tend to pick the offbeat films, and we often see “foreign” films because we might not come across them later–and it’s easier to read subtitles on a big screen. 🙂 This was over several days. Thanks for reading!

  4. Sorry about the abrupt cut of my comment. As I was saying, your opening haibun is particularly wonderful. I love the haiku. The opening quote is relatable on so many levels…the paranormal as you talked about, shifts in the world around us that we hustle to adapt to rather than protest…it even reminded me of when my back was going out of alignment and I thought my chair was slanted…

    • Thank you so much for going back and reading this post and continuing with your comment. Thank you for the praise of haibun/haiku. I love that the quotation made you think of both the paranormal and also your back problem–which shifted your perception of the world. In the ghost story play we saw, the actor/storyteller quoted Shirley Jackson a few times, though not this particular quote.

      • I am not familiar with Shirley Jackson though I just looked her up and learned that she wrote horror and mystery novels. Have you read any of her books?

      • I’m not sure that I have. I don’t think I ever read Hill House, but the original movie that I saw as a child terrified me. Sarah Waters “Little Stanger,” which is coming out as a movie, kind of reminds me of it–one of those stories where you’re not sure if the person is really seeing ghosts or not. I’ve read Jackson’s famous short story, “The Lottery.” It was often in school anthologies. I’m sure it’s online.

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