The Big Idea: Mar Romasco-Moore
Posted on April 21, 2022 Posted by John Scalzi 3 Comments
Some people seem to attract attention the moment they enter into the room. Then there are others who… don’t. In I Am The Ghost In Your House, author Mar Romasco-Moore explores what it means to be the latter, in ways that might surprise you.
Every day on the bus to school I’d eavesdrop. I carried a tiny notebook and I’d hunch over in my seat, dashing off hasty notes about what I heard and saw.
Some of these observations stick with me all these years later – the powder-pale girl in the pink velour tracksuit who insisted she had never once sneezed in her entire life, the enormous drug dealer boy who sat at the very back of the bus declaiming heavily embellished stories about his exploits.
I can still remember these people. But I feel confident none of them remember me. It’s likely they never even noticed me. There would be little reason to.
People, in my experience, are perfectly capable of maintaining directly contradictory desires. Back then, I desperately wanted someone to look at me and know everything about me, to understand and accept the darkest and most peculiar parts of my personality. I longed for someone to say “I see you,” or heck, even just for a teacher to look at me and be like “oh jeez, maybe that kid is not doing okay.”
But at the same time, that was my greatest fear.
I hid in as many ways as I could – dark eyeliner, sunglasses, silence, outright lies. There were things about me that might have drawn attention – being weird, being queer – so I kept them as shrouded as possible. I hovered around the edges of things, never quite fitting in, never fully belonging, but not outright ostracized either. Ignored.
I’m sure I’m far from the only teenager who felt invisible. When writing my novel, I Am the Ghost In Your House, I took this idea a step further. For the main character, Pieta (Pie for short), this feeling is literal.
She is invisible.
And not like a superhero who can turn it on or off as they please. She is completely invisible all the time. There are perks – all of which grew directly out of my teenage daydreams about invisibility. Pie and her mother, who is also invisible, can walk freely into places off limits for other people. They can go to a museum after hours and touch all the art. They can walk out of a fancy boutique with any expensive item they’d like. They live like ghosts in the houses of the rich, helping themselves to gourmet food and precious objects, scraps of luxury. Theirs is an existence unchained to the tradition rules of society.
But there are also downsides. Creating the character of Pie was ultimately a way for me to explore and amplify the loneliness I felt as a teenager – and to imagine what might happen if someone terrified of being seen was able to let go of that fear.
I don’t feel invisible anymore, but sometimes I still worry whether anyone truly knows me, truly sees me, and whether they would accept me if they did. There’s a good chance other people feel this way too – I hope that some of them find this book and recognize a little of themselves in the pages.
I Am the Ghost in Your House: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s
Visit the author’s site. Follow them on Twitter.
At least her mum can see her. I think everyone feels that pull between wanting to be seen and.. not. I used to wear eye catching clothes when I was younger. I liked the idea of being looked at but I never knew if I was because I was too afraid to look!
seven billion people on the planet… not every single of whom warrant a wikipedia page never mind being a frequent headline… being overlooked is the default mode for humanity… and whenever I pay closer attention to what folks will do to be noticed, what shows up is rarely of deep genuine interest…
but to take that attribute of ‘overlookness’ to extremes as to verge upon becoming a superpower… huh…
(if there’s a sequel perhaps mother ‘n daughter could end up as covert agents… there was a very funny Buffy episode where a minor character actually had this attribute and rather than being eliminated as weird-threat-unwanted was recruited by a secretive governmental agency)
It’s funny how how the same kind of teenage angst can drive people to do completely different things.
Because, to all appearances, I was your exact opposite. I was probably the most recognizable kid in my highschool. Full dress-up metalhead. Long hair on a guy. Leather, denim, and questionable fashion choices like cheap sunglasses and bandanas.
I felt like a total poser.
But I made the choice after years of not fitting in, and sometimes being bullied, to NOT FIT IN ON PURPOSE. And it worked. It worked a lot better than I thought it did at the time.
If I had the talent, I’d write a novel about the most famous and admired person in the world mostly focusing on their imposter syndrome. And how, even though people might WANT to get to know them, they simply CAN’T allow that, because a look behind the curtain would reveal there’s nothing there.
Same starting point, wildly different path, you still end up in the same place.