By Travis Saylor
Of all of the short fiction in Romasco Moore's Ghostographs, "Different Kinds of Light" is one of the most fascinating. The story relates what the narrator's Grandpa tells them regarding the different kinds of light in the world. “Different Kinds” refers to lights already featured in the book, including the light of Tess - a glowing girl - and a river filled with lightbulbs. These references help build the fascinating world of the book. The narrator’s Grandpa also tells of the light of a well that glows blue and blooms "like a flower.”
The beautiful thing about this section is its ability to evoke child-like wonder and fascination with ordinary parts of the world. To me, light is an accepted and normal part of everyday life, only considered when putting on sunglasses or taking photographs. "Different Kinds of Light" contains descriptions of this ordinary thing as new and wonderful, like with the blooming radiance of the fountain and ice casting a glow. Those descriptions make the reader consider light the way a child who is unfamiliar with its rules of operation may consider it.
In its ruminations on light, "Different Kinds" is an exemplar of the entire novella’s concepts. The story contains many references to other parts of the book and encapsulates the feeling of nostalgia ever-present in Ghostographs. Light is especially central to Romasco Moore's theme of the fading nature of the past and ourselves. Photographs – like those that haunt the novella’s pages – are made with light, and information is conveyed through it. Light is momentary and ephemeral, but it is beautiful and can evoke incredible emotion. Light is like our lives: fleeting and harsh, yet mystical and glorious.
"Different Kinds of Light" also brings up a multitude of questions about the novella and its meaning. For instance: what does light (and its many forms) represent? Romasco Moore seems to suggest – especially in the later story "Light" – that it represents the fading nature of existence. However, the narrator's Grandpa knows of a kind of light for many different parts of the world and aspects of life. Likewise, the light of the sun seems non-dangerous, indicated by the photo of a cat sitting in sunlight that seems to symbolize safety and comfort. These unexplained motifs present many questions, but the story’s childlike wonder seem to beg one over others: can we look at the world like we have never seen it before?