Saying Goodbye to Ghosts, Pt. 9 – One Last Thought

I’m exhausted. I’m writing this with a pounding headache and a mind that feels like it’s wading through a pool filled with cotton balls. I’ve written nine books in two years and published eight. As much as I joke about not being able to actually take a vacation, it’s apparent to me how much of a rest I need. With Plague of Life, I know I’m not crossing the finish line at a full sprint. It’s not the book you’ll want. But it is the conclusion I’ve known for a while now, and it’s as true to me and this series as I can write. In great pain, we find the greatest beauty.

That’s what this series has been about, I guess. It’s what the last two and a half years of my life have been about.

Garrett Moranis is, at his worst, a Mary Sue. I make no bones about that, and no apologies. I’ll do better with future protagonists, but in him, there are moments of myself reflected that shouldn’t go into the ethos without me mentioning them.

There are two in particular that come to mind, and neither are what you’d expect.

In the Ghost at His Back, there’s this moment in the middle of Garrett’s first date with Brianna when Murphy pulls him back to reality, and Garrett realizes looking in on Brianna he won’t have her. Not can’t. Won’t. The distinction there is subtle, but it makes all the difference in the world. He knows who he is, the pain he’ll cause her. And in the end, he’s right. Brianna Reeve suffers for having known him, for having fallen in love with him.

That scene always made me emotional to edit, because it’s the truest moment of Garrett’s in that first book. And it’s not so secretly one of my favorite scenes because of it. It’s painful. It’s also why I’m so glad I never went with a will they/won’t they in these novels. Because I do believe in true love. I do believe there’s someone out there who will be able to look past that part of me that always says, “This won’t work.”

If you’ve read the rest of the novels, it should come as no surprise then that the other truest moment of Garrett’s that I love is the Thanksgiving scene in Bone Carvers – er, his Thanksgiving scene, not Fletcher Brown’s.

The general idea is that Garrett, who has been alone for so long apart from Murphy, is finally surrounded during one of his favorite holidays by family he hasn’t spoken to in fifteen years, his fiance, and friends who love and care for him. He should feel on top of the world, but awash in a sea of people, he doesn’t. He feels utterly, terribly alone, even as he realizes these feelings are just in his head. It’s a terribly sad moment, and almost a throwaway paragraph considering the rest of the events of that novel, but it is, to me, one of the most personal, intimate looks we get into Garrett’s soul and the real damage that has been done to him throughout the years.

Of the trio of protagonists in the novels, Garrett’s definitely the worst. He’s cardboard. He’s two dimensional. He’s both hyperviolent and impossibly good. I know all this, and yet… I don’t know. He’s not so much a wish fulfillment character as he is a bundle of my innermost thoughts laid out on the page with a Batman-esque trapping. And I don’t even particularly like Batman.

And… that’s it, I think. Unless anyone has questions over the years, I don’t see much else here I could talk about. If you’ve made it this far in this blog series, thanks for reading. I hope I’ve entertained you.

Goodbye, Garrett. Thank you for being my mental ride these last couple of years.


Author: therealcamlowe

Writer, occasional victim of pug crop-dusting.

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