Issue #249: Chris Vanjonack’s “Phases”

Is it bad form for a ghost to look over your shoulder while you’re typing an email? Do ghosts need therapy? How do ghosts have sex? These are the kinds of questions that rolled around in Chris Vanjonack’s head before he started writing “Phases.” Henry, the story’s narrator, had an unfortunate encounter with a lightning bolt sometime back. Now, his “life” consists of wandering the planet, walking through walls, and watching his ex-girlfriend get over him. And dating—sort of.

Henry is lonely but surrounded by other ghosts. He’s impatient but not even sure what he’s waiting for. And for all his mobility and freedom, he’s overwhelmed by limitations. As the author states in our Q&A, ghostdom, as he imagined it, became “a potent metaphor for depression, or for ennui, or loneliness, or even aging. No one can see me. I can’t make a difference. I don’t feel the way I used to. I can’t feel anything.” But don’t be misled. “Phases” is no downer. In fact, it’s charged with wit and humor, and it’s fueled by a voice packed with charm. There’s a forward lean to the earnestness in Chris Vanjonack’s writing, and it shines through in this story. We’re delighted to welcome him into the One Story family.

2 thoughts on “Issue #249: Chris Vanjonack’s “Phases”

  1. I thought this a wonderful story: quirky, humorous, intriguing, poignant, startling. I’m now going in search of more of Mr. Vanjonack’s work. This man can write!

  2. I confess I was skeptical when I first began reading this story. The premise of seeing the world through a ghost’s eyes, I thought, was going to be hokey and predictable. But Chris Vanjonack was able to bring much more to it by making Henry’s dilemmas and insecurities human within the that otherworld where laws of physics don’t hold. A wonderful accomplishment.

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