In Another Life

Yesterday morning, my alarm clock went off way too early, considering I had been up way too late the night before. The song blaring at unwelcomed decibels from that object of torment was Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away.”

Three words from that song have been stuck in my head for the last two days: “In another life…

Isn’t that where it all begins for a novelist? With those magic words “What if…?”

It seems that since the moment my eyelids blinked apart yesterday morning, every thought that has entered my mind has been subjected to an “in another life” test.

I’m not talking about the past, about regrets or do-overs. Instead, my mind is captivated by the idea of a parallel universe, a place containing the same board, the same pieces, but freed from the order set by the realities of this universe.

The most beloved fiction writers of any genre have a gift for immersing themselves in another world, another life, and making it believable for all of us readers tagging along for the ride.

What touches them touches us. Good, bad, beautiful, ugly, harmful, helpful, necessary, avoidable, shattering, miraculous. In a good book, it’s all there.

And we soak up every drop.

Something that has surprised me about becoming a self-published author is the renewed energy of my creative mind. Almost daily, with my fingers on the keyboard, I find myself in unexpected places, living lives wholly unrelated to my own.

It’s surreal.

I’ve become so absorbed with my characters, my stories, that I’m not always entirely certain whether the life I’m living at any moment is in this universe or a parallel one.

The more I write, the more the two seem to overlap.

Since my little girl days, I’ve been a writer who comes alive at night. It’s my time. But now, since becoming a self-published author and a blogger, I’m finding ideas for whole new genres (to me, anyway) emerging from that mysterious place in the brain where original thoughts are born.

What’s interesting to note is that these new ideas prefer to reveal themselves at other times of the day.

Mornings seem to be about outlines, direction, concepts, polishing. Afternoons seem to be my preferred time for writing the first draft of a blog or short story. Nighttime still holds the key to unlocking my emotions and spilling them onto the pages of my work.

If any chapters in my short stories or novels rouse your heart or pull on your tears, you may be certain the words were written beneath the moon and the stars.

The question is, in which universe?

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