Writings of Sheri Hooper

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♫ Ghost Writer in the Sky ♫



♫ Ghost Writer in the Sky ♫ Written by: Sheri Hooper

Recently there were violent storms that hit the south with a hair raising, wind blowing, wrath! First Tornadoes and then heavy Ice and Snowfall. There were reports coming in from most counties with downed tree’s and power lines, blown out windows, broken glass, hail, tossed off shingles, hot tubs turned over. A scary thought to think of. It was immensely strong with lightening like I have never seen from one part of the sky to the other, in all directions a myriad of candy colors though they did not look friendly. The winds were making sounds I had never heard before. Despite all the meteorological drama, in the area where we were that evening, we had rain, and the above described lightening and winds. Praise GOD, we were just fine. It was nothing like what other folks went through.

Who would have thought bi-polar storms like these, especially in a winter month long after Christmas? That is what the 2013-2014 “Winter” has been like. We really have not had a season but several of them, all taking turns. Tornadoes – Fierce Cold – Ice Storms – Snow – Warmer Temps – Tornadoes – Freezing Rain – Snow – Colder Temps – Warmer Temps – Tornadoes, etc … but not just the South … the Mid-West, Northern and Eastern states have all been slammed with record breaking winters that borderline on the creepy.

A few days later from our main home I decided to telephone a neighbor who lives near the cabin I own in the mountains. I wanted to make sure, without having to drive all the way there, that everything was okay with the structure, tree’s and fencing. He was nice, said all was intact, and even though I offered to pay him for his troubles he declined. I spoke with his wife for awhile and caught up on the local gossip (yes, even there, where banjoes echo into the evening, it happens). I was relieved to find out that everything was okay and with everyone in that area too.

These are good people (I think) the neighbors, don’t get me wrong, but they have not stepped into the new century. They are zero technology folks with no cell phones, computers, or even a CD player. To watch films they use a VHS. They are stuck in the 1980’s or so I perceive. They are not low income, far from it, they made a choice to live this way promising that it makes their lives less complicated. I certainly am not judging them in a negative way, it is merely an observation.

Last Saturday was my birthday. March 15th, also known as “The Ides of March” I turned 46 years old. Forty Six, I look at the numbers in denial for a moment and await the screams of terror that surely will follow, but all is well. Growing older, aging, to my utter shock, does not bother me as I thought it would. This is simply a number and beats the alternative of not progressing on to the next. What’s to fear? This is a blessing!

My husband Rick, our “fur babies” Maury Joel and Madden Hade and I traveled up to the cabin for the celebration. We got a very late start, 4 hours late to be precise, I got a telephone call. A friend since 9th Grade in Tennessee called me with a Happy Birthday song. I was so touched and four hours flew by in what seemed like only minutes. At one point in this telephone reunion I placed the phone on speaker and the three of us were all talking and joking, living it up like a virtual birthday party. I had a blast. I think we all did. Rick literally lifted up the clock to show me what time it was and I had to say goodbye.

We arrived safely on the mountain, way up in the sky, and with a sigh of relief stood on the porch and unlocked the door. Maury Joel and Madden Hade were howling pathetically in their crates and very glad to be set free, running from their “car seats” both in different directions, looking for a place to hide until they realized where they were. This happens every time with Maury and Madden. Rick and I fell apart laughing at their predicted antics.

Before long the for mentioned (male) neighbor who checked our place out after the storm was at the door knocking. Rick offered him a seat and they chit-chatted while I washed then sliced vegetables and pressed some Tofu for a Vegan meal later. I placed the bowl into the refrigerator and joined them in another room. Maury Joel and Madden Hade sulked in the bedroom, still pouting from the road trip.

The sun was beginning to set so Rick excused himself to our vehicle and fetched the rest of our belongings, checked the oil and the tires. As soon as he stepped out the door questions started flying towards me. There were no “what do you think of this weather” exchanges – these were a little different. This wasn’t small talk, I could tell right away. I began to wonder if he already knew who I was and if he and his wife really did not have a computer or read any of the magazines my work has been featured in.

Though not exactly verbatim, some is. I was gifted with an incredibly strong memory and did the best I could to replay the scene for my readers.

( He began with )

Neighbor: I am glad you brought your husband this time. Maybe he can hunt or go fishing with me sometime?

ME: We are Vegans, we do not hunt, nor eat any meat or use any animal products.

Neighbor: Oh! I have known people like that! You’re Vegetarians!

ME: Not quite, close, we are Vegans.

Neighbor: (he dropped the subject there and went to another) How long have you been married? You ARE married right? (There was a noticeable emphasis on the word “ARE”) I just assumed you were but sometimes noticed you are by yourself so my wife and I weren’t sure.

ME: Yes. We have been married 28 years, our anniversary is in five weeks. Sometimes when writing if it is a particularly long assignment, I prefer to write alone with just my pets, our Omni Present GOD and my Mossberg, Taurus and Glock. I said the end part with a hint of “Don’t mess with me man, I’m not afraid to pull the trigger and break a 10 Commandment if you place me into that position!” I was edgy towards him with my answer. His questions were annoying me.

He wasn’t intrusive with Rick, so why me? Oops, and now I had let him in on that I was a writer. If he did not know before, he knew now. It slipped past my lips without even thinking. I hoped he had missed the confession while wondering what his next inquiry would be. I felt like I was being interviewed.

Is this what all the people I have quizzed for an article felt like? Wait, most importantly, am I getting paid for this inquisition? – HA-HA! – The cross-examination sustained while I tried being cordial with the dreadful scenario that I was not enjoying.

Neighbor: Aren’t you bored? Maybe even scared to be here by yourself?

ME: I was alarmed at that one. Anyone reading my posts on Facebook would have concern too. I left the cabin a few weeks ago very early because I was on the lap top writing and a deer popped out of the woods giving me a little panic, albeit briefly. I am not afraid of deer and certainly would not shoot one, but I was startled not expecting it. Additionally they were calling for snow, a huge blizzard of the white stuff was being warned about and I split. As it turned out, I did the right thing, it snowed everywhere!

I was wondering if he intentionally ignored my subtle warning when I tip toed over the subject of – I AM ARMED, DON’T BREAK INTO MY HOUSE(s) – by naming my weapons “Mossberg, Taurus and Glock” which did not seem to jolt any fear into him. Then again this is the same guy who was wanting Rick to go hunting with him. I doubt guns give him much fear. So to his question of if I were bored or scared to be there by myself, I simply gave a solid, “No!”

The cheerfulness had left my voice and I was wishing my husband was inside. I walked over to my purse, no need for the neighbor to know what I had in it. I spoke firmly, “I am never bored when working, I am far too busy up here, “In my little Cabin Home on the Hill.” (an old Bluegrass tune I have sang for decades.) My inner monologue focused on that melody as it brought comfort to my soul. I must admit – so did my purse – because Taurus was siting snuggly inside.

Neighbor: Oh, well, what do you write about?

ME: (dang, he noticed!) I answered back that I have a large following with my own articles and am honored that I also do a lot of Ghost Writing. I no longer wanted to give him more information and said that I have many titles depending on what I am involved with at the time. But what did he hear from all of that? He said …


ME: (I was laughing so hard on the inside I honestly do not know how I kept it together) I was tempted to call Lisa and place the phone on speaker so she could hear. He was looking a little scared of me now … but intrigued … Suggesting brands of weapons had no affect on him. Mention “ghost’ and I have his attention 100% – No sir, not exactly, I am also a Ghost Writer, in addition to my own writing on various subjects, I take over drafts, commercials, scripts, jingles, screenplays, reports, books, lines for other people, major writers who are too busy to do so themselves. I am a “ghost” without the “glory” but I earn a sweet pay-check that keep my skills up.

Neighbor: What all have you done? Anyone famous? Are you famous?

ME: Yes. I help celebrities finish their own books. It looks like they wrote it. I get paid, meet someone new and it is a lot of fun. Often I am contacted from an outside publisher to do something for an author who has died or sick and others are needed to complete their work. That’s when I get called in. I do not consider myself famous though have worked for many that are. (and what does he hear from THAT?)

Neighbor: People who are DEAD (he screamed that) have books published?

ME: Yes. Even Authors who wrote fiction. Many who pass on, still have a “name” that sell years, sometimes decades down the road with new books published with their name but they are not the actual writer(s). The work was completed by Ghost Writers.

Neighbor: Who did you write for?

ME: I’m sorry, I do not give out that information. Under contracts. (I’m not under any silence contracts with magazines but did not care to share anything else with him.) I could have brought up Patsy’s Magazine or Pride of Pageantry Magazine “POP” but kept my mouth shut. I felt it was risky to say anything else.

Neighbor: Have you ever had to write about something you don’t know anything about?

ME: (Now I am insulted! Is he suggesting I am stupid? You have to understand there is an air of sexist pig swirling around him.) I found his question rude though answered; “I am generally the person or one of many persons that are contacted because I have been doing this for many years and am trusted. Should my style of writing and knowledge of subject not meld together, I educate myself on the matter immediately. If am lost on circumstance of genre I get myself on track quickly by research, books, interviewing subjects or tutoring from others. I take my jobs and my businesses seriously.” – ALL of them!

Ya’LL I was pissed, absolutely seething! So angry I popped out with “businesses” and said “all of them!” (DOH! oh heck, I hope he didn’t “catch” that too.) And then he said . . .

Neighbor: Where you going to go with this? Do you have other plans?

ME: (Am I less interesting to him now? Heck, why not? I’ve already let loose!) My goal is for my own films. I am working on a screenplay and book about my life from infancy to present.

When I Ghost Write I am writing for other people who are credited with my work, and/or direction, and you know what? It is a living, pays well, I make contacts and the projects are completed and that is a GREAT feeling.” – I was still angered, but damn it, REBEL YELL PROUD!
(He seemed to understand now and looked embarrassed.)

Ticked off but trying to hold it in from him taking “Ghost Writing” and thinking I wrote about ghosts. I got a great laugh out of that one, as did other writers that I emailed overnight. Hysterical!

Though his interest disturbed me (because of his tone and way he asked) if they are reading this, no offence, but you had it coming. Don’t take it the wrong way but this was incredibly awkward and I was not comfortable with all the interrogations.

Those were his last two questions. I hope that was the first and ending of his (ahem) “interview” – I may be a real bitch next time, that was just a nibble of my candor. I have probably given the entire hill/mountain something to gossip about. Words will be soaring through naturally forested fencing. Well I do work for the Entertainment Industry, so I might as well entertain them.

Rick walked in and immediately the neighbor went over and helped him with the luggage. I wondered, why he didn’t offer to help him in the beginning? Was I set up for local gossip? Kind of appears that way doesn’t it? Strange timing. Rick thought so too. And there were no further questions as soon as Rick walked in.

Here is a question from me. Since I talked to the wife on the telephone and she was so friendly, why did she not come with him or even the days that followed? Odd.

Talking this over with Rick and other Writer Industry friends has left the general consensus feeling that this guy is probably harmless but already knew who I was and just afraid to say so. Nosey old coot!

Therefore, he knew about the businesses I own/run, the Writing, PR, Activism, Events, Fashion, all of it including the people I have worked for or Written and Published Magazine Articles with, long before this conversation, and his wife probably does too.

Come on now, it is 2014 and you have never had a computer? Or a CD player? DVD? Cell Phone? I find this too hard to believe. Besides, I am in print, hand held magazines you do not have to read online, I’ve been in magazines you could buy at Barnes and Noble amongst others. You wouldn’t need a computer for those.

He said nothing else to me except when leaving “good bye ma’am” he did not stay long after Rick came back in and by the way he was squirming in his chair he seemed to be the uncomfortable one now. After leaving I say he crossed the street, opened his door and told his old lady everything and she hopped on her landline and started calling people up. Bet they have a computer too, you would be surprised at how many people are lying about owning one. Makes you think, doesn’t it? What are they trying to hide? Perhaps they will get to read this after all.

As hours went by I grew calmer way up there in the sky with my old man and our furry children. It was a wild birthday from beginning to end. Later in the dark I had Rick shut and lock the front gate. (smile)

♚ Happy Birthday to Me, I’m a Ghost “Writer” in the Sky! ♚
Barnes & Noble

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