Ghostwriting-The Faceless Voice

I started ghostwriting in my 20s. It didn’t occur to me at the time how creating words for others to use as their own would inform my own ideas on personal expression—I just loved writing and wanted to help great ideas grow some legs to stand on.

My first assignment was for a Cal-tech theoretical physicist who wanted to explain the mechanism of external chi within a quantum healing field.

The mandate--write the story line for a comic book that would make concepts like coherence, the unified field theory and the importance of bound states accessible for mass consumption and application. 

Then there was The Godfather of the modern vegan movement—a former Silicon Valley OG who had come up with the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. He had made his fortune and now turned his focus onto movement building within the fields of health and personal transformation.

I was hired to craft a vegan manifesto for him. Not only should it channel his passion and vision for veganism and specifically, raw foods, it should also incorporate his vast knowledge on the subject while being personable and relate-able.

This was an elusive and surreal experience. He had a screener, his vizier if you will, a talented visual artist who also revered the ground this man walked upon. Said artist was tasked with finding the perfect person to channel Mr. Veganismo's brilliance and do it after one conversation with him.

The most recent project has been with an international tech company that wants to make mindfulness in business the next corporate culture "it" practice. As the company-wide meditation instructor and behind the scenes ghostwriter for the blog, it has been a dance between playing a visual, online personality and Cyrano de Bergerac wooing an international audience Roxanne through the polished visage of corporate Christian. A true shape-shifting if ever there was one.

Ghostwriters do two things: 1. Drop/chain/ harness their egos at the door. 2. Mind read.

Perhaps this is a profession best likened to being a professional backup singer. It's about understanding the intention and nuance of the performer you are supporting, communicating with seamless sound-- organic instead of like a foreign invasion-- and not taking up too much spotlight as you create a performance without anyone knowing you were there.

If you do your job well, your words don't sound like you, they sound like the "body" you are channeling through.

At times I admit, wild rebellion kicks its heels at subsuming my voice in this way. I am a published author with a strong voice of my own...so why on earth should I agree to giving someone else the credit for my hard work and inspiration?

I am also a trained actor and performer, which has taught me the value of walking a mile in someone else's shoes. There is a lot to be learned by getting into someone's skin and seeing their world view. If you can understand how a person thinks you can get them to hear YOUR message too, regardless of whether or not you get publishing credits for it. In a way, it's kind of a superpower. Skin-changer by word, ginger mom by day.

At the bottom of it all, I'm an insatiably curious human. About what it means to be consciousness enrobed in flesh. Why people get interested in specific things and devote their lives to these pursuits.

By riding another wavelength, I dive into a hundred different seas and wish on a thousand unique stars.

As a writer, there's always the practical realities of keeping body and soul together too. Which, no matter how many supernovas I'm surfing, is still a motivator. Would I ghostwrite if the money was bad? Maybe not, but there's always that carrot of discovering something new about the world that opens up a portal inside myself, so who can really say?

I choose projects that are personally interesting to me. Many have led to exciting adventures and people I would not have met otherwise and for that I am extremely grateful and in awe of how life can unfold.

As to personal expression-we all have our favorite modes for experiencing the different facets of material reality. Some people speak through their dress, or painting, through career or relationships...but we all interface with Life and present our interpretations of it through various mediums. With ghostwriting as one of my "paint brushes", I am playing with personality and image, word and sound and ultimately messages that transcend a single person.

And while the final product might now have my name on it, my play is all over, saying, "I existed and I danced here!" Because really, at the end of our lives, we all want to know we mattered. That we left our mark on the world. I offer that it does not have to be our actual name to make an impression.

As Shakespeare (or whoever really wrote the literature attributed to him) stated in Romeo and Juliet, "That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet..."

Just like a voice is carried by the wind into the wide world.



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