I must admit, I am conflicted.
I have a really compelling story, and as a writer my instinct is to use this in something besides just a blog that only a few people read.
Thing is, I’m afraid to use it for anything because I feel like I’d be literally pissing on my own grave if I did.
If I borrow elements of this and use it in a fictionalized context such as a novel, what does that look like? It immediately makes this whole thing look like a cynical publicity stunt to sell novels.
If I film a documentary about visiting the sites from my former life, as I had considered doing, it makes me look like I’m just appearing on camera for attention.
If I tell the truth as I know it in a straight-up book, it makes me look worse than if I fictionalized certain details.
Still, it bothers me because this whole experience has been a powerful one, and one that could help others. But when you add the elements of profit or attention, any impact the story might have is lost on an already cynical public that wants to know what I’m getting out of this.
A couple of celebrities have claimed to have past lives. Lady Gaga claims to have been her aunt in a previous life, and Joanna Lumley, like me, says she was a British soldier in the First World War, also at Ypres (wouldn’t it be something if we were in the same unit?). But in both cases, the public’s reaction ranged from a polite nod to some really condescending “damned Hollywood liberals” eye-rolling. As an up and coming novelist with admittedly bohemian themes in my work, I don’t know where this puts me exactly… I would rather wait until I have some credibility before I even dare bring it up.
I suppose I have some reassurance, in that the concept of past lives has become more accepted in recent years. The few people I’ve told who know me personally have not been overly judgmental, in part because I don’t put a name or face to these claims.
Maybe I will do a documentary when I visit Ypres and Houplines (hopefully in 2014). But I may either make it “invite only” for those who want to see it, or I may blur my face and distort my voice, or do something else to take attention away from me specifically.