Past Lives as Writing Inspiration


Maine, digital photography, www.carolineallen.com

I have a client who came to me to coach her in the writing of a nonfiction book about kids in foster care, their trials and tribulations, our misunderstanding of at-risk youth.

I knew in my gut this client was also a writer of fiction. I’m not sure she knew it yet, though. People will often come to me with a soulful desire to write fiction that is so latent even they don’t know it’s there. So they will hire me as a coach for a nonfiction book, and before you know it we’re discussing fiction. It’s magical.

At any rate, months into our work together, this woman told me about a clairvoyant friend who ‘saw’ one of my client’s past lives when they were in the theatre together more than a decade ago. This friend saw someone around my client, a man who had loved her in medieval Wales, when she was another person altogether. The clairvoyant reading drew up inexplicably strong emotions for my client.

So, we decided she should write this past life as a novel. There was a lot of information about the people to begin with, their names, where they lived, how they were separated, death and longing. The emotions around it for my client were intense. The emotions around writing fiction were intense. When your soul wants something, some creativity, some expression of it, the emotions around that artistic need are huge and should not be ignored. Just as you wouldn’t ignore a suspected illness, ignoring the soul’s creative needs, I believe, can take years off one’s life.

I started thinking about where our creativity comes from. What if every time I write a character in my novel I’m channeling a past-life? Who’s to say where inspiration comes from? Who’s to say I’m not channeling another dimension as I write? Could the very land upon which my building sits be dictating my creativity? What if the wide lugubrious river out my kitchen window is dictating to me as I pen Chapter 7?

Don’t try to analyze with your brain where inspiration comes from. It comes from myriad dimensions – past lives, other dimensions, trees, a television commercial, future lives…what a glorious mystery and one that makes me love being an artist.

I’m a writing coach. www.artofstorytellingonline.com

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