The Out of Body Experience
So there comes a moment in a person’s life when this happens – the out of body experience. If you pay close attention you’ll be able to see where and when it started, this long drawn out process. The experience itself is a split-second thing that just comes at you. It is a literal ‘BOOM’!
Suddenly you are floating looking down on yourself and wondering if you’ll ever go back into your body. If you are lucky that will happen immediately. If not, you’ll be hanging by a thread for (I don’t really know how long) ….
What am I talking about? We’ll get there.
The repossession cannot happen without the acknowledgement, that is for sure. There is no skirting around this issue, looking for alternative explanations, poking at your floating self hoping you’ll wake up, running up bills in the floating world hoping you can bribe your way out of this and so on. (If you are a Stephen King fan you already know that is a waste of time.)
This begins at a specific location at a specific time and as far as you will acknowledge for no specific purpose. You know what you want, you know what you have set about doing, but somewhere along the line your focus shifted. So now, do you want to look back into the time-machine that has in it the frozen image of the person you used to be before you let go of something in order to be able to live down something else? The compromise, the first one – that is where it began. One is all it takes, then the chains around the gate of idealistic thinking just break away and there is a flood. After that you just stop keeping count.
But guess what, someone else was.
Someone else has been watching… or maybe not. Maybe the person who appears years later, a living image of that frozen one in the time-machine, is just another person who is living his/her life who happened to cross your path. It isn’t his/her fault he/she reminds you of who you used to be.
That person could be a new friend you’ve made, new neighbor, new reviewer…
The ‘BOOM’! You cannot help it, can you? All your senses scream injustice!!!
Like when you go ahead and release the book you never wanted to write.
You wrote it. Why? What happened? This – you ended up writing it anyway because no matter how hard you tried, your thoughts which were only your own (or so you thought), suddenly left your head and got replaced by something that you didn’t recognize. Now you are looking at the blank sheet of paper and wondering if you should put down the related thoughts, these things that seem like they could be someone else’s memories. Do they not want these memories? (Why do they creep into your head only when you write?) That itself is beside the point, you wanted to write only what you wanted to write and not something that is ‘like it’, or something that ‘comes close’, or something that ‘is better because it sells’ (maybe this rule isn’t that set in cement) and so on.
So you type away and don’t care that you’re breaking all the rules that you’ve set for yourself. The senses that are aware of the transformation are still screaming. You begin to criticize your own work and you don’t want to look at it anew and give it a fair chance. (After all it has a life of its own now.) After months (maybe longer) of this kind of tussle you look at the finished product and you want to either trash the whole thing or scream for real.
This isn’t what you wanted. (And please note down why – the most crucial key to the lock that keeps you floating in that cloud)
But this isn’t even it. The BOOM is yet to happen.
The next thing that you do is go ahead and send it out into the world anyway. (Don’t make me explain why.) It is a ‘new’ release.
The artist is done, the product is out there and people receive it.
Then comes along that voice from long ago. It says everything that you wanted to say yourself. That voice is it. That is what you lost. And now it is out there coming from some other place and it is telling you what is missing in your work, taking that highroad your own brain still is, silently (because strangely that is the one thing you still aren’t able to articulate), every time you look down at your own finished product. BOOM!
That voice can break you. It is a true horror story, but then you did make a conscious decision did you not, long ago, when all this started?
How do you resolve this horror tale?
Just become a better writer.
It could potentially get worse. (Part Two of this horror tale is – wait for it – you are that voice that someone else lost because you didn’t put down your own exact thoughts did you? You ‘grabbed’ something ‘related to it ‘or something that ‘sells’ or …! ‘Grabbed’ is what the other person thinks you did although you feel like you’ve been cheated out of your own stuff.)
And all you ever wanted was to author the next great work of fiction.