Ghosts and Ballyhoo: Memoirs of a Failed L.A. Music Journalist chronicles Thomas Wictor’s ten insane years in the Los Angeles music industry and his quest to free himself from the past. Ostensibly a memoir, Ghosts also asks—and possibly answers—provocative questions about fate, destiny, and life after death. Central to the story is the issue of how the author is to continue on after the loss of the Cardinal Ghost, the woman he recognized and remembered the first time he met her.
The book is structured as a collection of anthologies rather than a continuous narrative; the seven anthologies detailing Wictor’s failed career are separated by six interludes with the Collateral Ghost, one of the most brilliant yet unsuccessful musicians who ever played—former Frank Zappa bassist Scott Thunes.
Thomas Wictor’s experiences include multiple failures across multiple spectra; a spontaneous recovery from total liver failure; adopting a reincarnated cat; narrowly avoiding a terrorist bomb; losing much of his eyesight and the ability to play the bass guitar; purchasing a painting of the Cardinal Ghost done by an artist who never met her; learning that Scott Thunes played a role in his life years before Wictor even heard of him; turning the tables on a vicious stalker; a miraculous escape from an attempted murder; contracting an incurable illness that will eventually cost him his hearing; discovering a life-saving poet; experiencing the suicide of his best friend; and a near-death experience complete with tunnel, bright light, and vision of what lies beyond.
Throughout his life, Wictor also benefited from an endless series of coincidences that always returned him to the notion that there is a Plan. Losing nearly everything he loved gave the author clarity, enabling him to see patterns of guidance and sustenance visible everywhere once he was no longer blinded by rage and negativity.
Clarity un-haunted Thomas Wictor and brought him peace of mind, which allowed him to transform the anger over what he lost into gratitude for what he once had. Written with profane humor and no self-pity, Ghosts and Ballyhoo includes previously unpublished articles, excerpts from interview transcripts and personal correspondence, photo inserts, a bibliography, and index.