Although published as an open letter in 2017, this piece was originally sent to clientele privately in the Summer of 2016.
Today: Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 is the day I finally bid you farewell. I will no longer be able to serve as your ghostwriter. Truth be told, you and I both know that this resignation is long overdue. How long can one attempt to build a life in the shadows as “one of the best writers you’ve never heard of,” before the crushing truth of that statement takes its full effect?
Not to worry, all outstanding projects shall be completed; we’ve worked together for well over a decade, and I haven’t let you down once—not through my mother’s illness, my trying times at university, and two (2) failed engagements. Do you honestly think my integrity would lapse now?
Speaking of integrity, neither do you need to worry about me breaking my word…or my contracts. Yes, the general public would be quite surprised to learn who doesn’t actually do their own work. Yes, I could leverage my knowledge to rapidly propel my career, but I won’t. Although you leveraged my talent and youth, I harbor no bitterness. In fact, I write to you with a sense of gratitude—and a reminder that your secrets and identities are safe with me. You don’t owe me a debt, I owe you one…
Although I’ve spent the better part of my young adulthood straddling two (2) worlds, I’ve also gotten to do something most people could never imagine—live two (2) lives. Not in the glamorous “James Bond” sense, but in…more of a bipolar sense, I guess—appropriate for one in the arts, n’est-ce pas? Life can be an incredible series of highs and lows; thanks to you, I’ve been both the misfit in the small town, and the cosmopolitan wunderkind. It’s all so surreal that one couldn’t be faulted for thinking that all we’ve shared is simply another story. Maybe one day it will be. You can write your version, and I’ll write mine; we’ll send each other signed copies.
Behind the scenes, you’ve taught me more about life, your industries and “the real world” than six (6) degrees could have—believe me when I say this, because several of my professors often crowed to me about "real life." *Scoffs* If they had any idea… You helped me provide for myself and my family when I was still in my teens (another issue entirely), and though some might say I whored out my talent as a writer, I certainly didn't sell myself to the extent I would have if mother hadn’t hindered my modeling career (we all know that's an awful truth of the glamour industry); were professional lines crossed? I don’t really know, but physical boundaries certainly never were.
Speeches, novels, scripts, songs, blogs, articles, press releases, formal letters, business documents, the humble memo and even the occasional romantic note—I can’t believe you entrusted ‘some kid’ with such important work. It’s only now that I realize you may have been trying to coax me into quitting some time ago; I don’t blame you for not coming out and saying so, after all, who could replace me? ;-) Who could replace our memories? If I could’ve had the faith in myself that you’ve always had in me, we would’ve been able to openly toast at gatherings a good many years ago.
You may wonder why I’ve chosen to make this letter public when our relationship was established upon my willingness to stay in the shadows; it’s because I need something I can’t take back. True, I could delete this post, but I can never delete the moment in time when I was willing to make this commitment to myself by telling the world: I am Hesper Rose Hobsburhg—Professional Ghostwriter, and I resign.
Thank you for the lessons, the friendship, the trust and the opportunities. Most importantly, thank you for giving me the best gift anyone can give an artist (Okay, the second best—I’m not going to lie, a shared byline would have been great!): a story.
This is my swan song; it’s time to give up the ghost.