By Alison Nissen
I sent a message to the universe that I wanted to be a Ghost Writer. Several friends hounded me to write their stories. It sounded like a cool idea, I’d already been writing for associates and family on a small scale, why not turn it into a career?
I met with a fellow writer who offered some pointers about becoming a Ghost Writer. In case you are wondering, Ghost Writers do no write about séances and haunted houses, they write other people’s stories. His first assignment: ask my friends if they really wanted to tell their stories. They didn’t, so I set the dream aside and went about my day.
One month later, I received the mysterious email from Scott Headley, a man I didn’t know, about writing his memoir. “How did you even find me?” I asked Scott after our first meeting.
“I just found you on the internet.”
His answer didn’t really give me an answer but I’ve learned not to question the universe. At the time, I didn’t even have a website and yet he still found me on the internet. Call it the universe or call it luck or call it God, but make no mistake, there are things that go unexplained in the world, like how Scott Headley picked me to write his memoir.
We talked, signed a contract, and began to collaborate his story. And, as far as stories go, his was a writer’s dream. It involved gruesome details and terrifying events. It included emotion and depth and grit. And it was spoon-fed to me by a great story teller. Scott’s narrative was not one that was easy for him to tell. He started having panic attacks and privately, I questioned the book’s completion. When he disappeared for several months, I decided to push through. My sole role as a Ghost Writer is to put his thoughts on paper, I would finish his story then he could publish it or lock it away on a shelf.
He resurfaced about five months later, ready to complete our project. He had spent his missing time at a facility for PTSD, addressed his demons, and changed his outlook on life.
Now, one year after signing our agreement, I’m looking at a book cover with my name on it. I might be prejudice, but next to my graduate degree (which is prominently displayed on a wall in my library,) it is the prettiest piece of paper I’ve ever seen. My name is in itty-bitty font, but nonetheless, it’s my name. The universe or luck or God might have directed Scott to find my name on the internet, but it was my hard work that’s allowed this cover to come to fruition. And yes, I might be bragging just a little bit, but I’m damn proud of it.