We are a haunted culture. We blog and tweet and status update to unload baggage. The more we broadcast is the less we share. And we carry these ghosts with us wherever we go. They are with us in all we do.
Last month, Nine Inch Nails released their first single since their departure tour a few years ago. “Came Back Haunted,” a seeming theme song for the over-shared and under-spoken generation of narcissists unwilling to touch on what really matters. “Everywhere now reminding me/I am not who I used to be/I’m afraid this has just begun/Consequences for what I’ve done.”
In her graphic novel, Friends with Boys, Faith Erin Hicks embodies the haunted. Maggie McKay is trying to find her place in high school. After years of homeschooling, this proves more difficult than your average teenager. Her father’s the new chief of police. Her older brothers—Daniel and the twins, Lloyd and Zander—have lives of their own, establishing themselves in their own high school cliques. And cracks of her safe world are beginning to show as her mother has left without explanation. Things are changing for Maggie, and it’s obvious to her that she cannot keep up. And most of all, Maggie is haunted. Quite literally, actually. But everyone in Maggie’s life is haunted. Her new friends—brother and sister duo, Alistair and Lucy—are haunted by each other. Daniel is haunted by standing against the social norm. The twins are haunted by their falling out. Hicks’s ability to tell and show the story and the range of emotions helps us learn that no matter how much we want to fix our past and our bad decisions, we can’t always. And that’s okay, even when it isn’t.