Who am I?
I am neutral, a blank slate, nothing but an empty kettle just yearning to be given some water so that I may boil it–– thus creating an entirely new product ready for consumption.
Being Paula Johnson’s email ghostwriter is more than a job. It’s my life’s work. It consumes me.
As Ghostwriter, I’m kept in strict isolation in the Wellesley bell tower so that the trivialities of everyday life and social media won’t pollute my sacred art. Some liken me to a cardinal in the process of choosing a new pope.
Whenever a new P.J. email is demanded, a white goose flutters to my windowsill at sunset, carrying a memo from the board of trustees. For example, earlier this fall, I received the message: TL;DR generic response to geopolitical conflict. Use three-syllable synonyms for bad.
The white goose always returns at sunrise for the completed email. To meet this deadline, I work through the night, feverishly drafting an email on specialized P.J. stationary with a goose-feather quill in the fractured light of the lanterns lining the path below the bell tower. When I face writer’s block, I pace the bell tower stairs in a pair of P.J.’s used Louboutins (which she generously donated) to put myself in her shoes.
On days I don’t receive a visit from the white goose, I spend my time rereading past drafts and decorating my space in the bell tower. I cover the walls with inspiration, such as magazine cutouts of celebrities singing “Imagine” by John Lennon and a poster with the words “YOU ARE SEEN, YOU ARE HEARD” in calligraphy.
In the past, the Student Bursar would slide hard tack under the door of my chamber to keep me nourished, but for some reason, no hard tack has appeared this semester, causing me to become increasingly delirious with hunger. Rest assured, though, my hangriness has no effect on the quality of my emails.
I take my work very seriously. According to strict instruction, my emails, above all, must never contain a concrete stance nor a tangible crux. The bottom line is insignificant, but a hefty grey area is inspirational. A controversial email will cost me my job and, therefore, my life. I am passionate about the perfect neutral. Most importantly, I refuse to meet the same fate as the Ghostwriter before me after the infamous email of Spring 2023. May God rest his soul.
In the wake of my predecessor’s demise, I fight the temptation to imply anything about our student body. Instead, while crafting the emails, I try to include as many “Paula words and phrases” as possible: now more than ever, hurt, divisive, unprecedented, trying times, democracy, community, inclusive, hope, empathy, and liberal arts.
Sometimes, being a ghostwriter can be challenging. You have to be flexible and roll with the punches. This Halloween, I had to create Canva poster after Canva poster as P.J. changed her trick-or-treating plans, working through a throbbing migraine caused by incessant bells ringing above my head and sweating in the heat of an over-active radiator. Despite all the adversity I faced on Halloween, I rest easy knowing my quick-thinking Canva graphics prevented campus-wide unrest.
As a ghostwriter, I promise excellence in every email. The greatest reward is knowing that every Wellesley student’s heart leaps with joy when they see an email notification from Paula Johnson. I am comforted by the knowledge that students form their opinions on complex issues based solely on these emails. And if from time to time I write something morally reprehensible, at least I do it without dangling participles.