Letting go of the idea that I was Phil hasn’t changed the fact that, through both our latent similarities and through the fact that so much of my identity was subsumed by the idea that I was him, I am still very much stuck in his archetype… though in truth, a lot of the things that were true about him have been true about me all my life.
In a way, it’s just as though I am his reincarnation even though I am not. I was already similar in some uncanny ways, but this whole business just solidified that similarity. The idea that I was him, held in breathless enthusiasm for more than two years of my life (during which I published two novels) has left an indelible mark on my personality, my writing, and I dare say my soul.
I’m sitting here listening to Schubert’s unfinished symphony, wearing the Koss Pro4AA headphones I bought when I thought I was him (excellent headphones, by the way) and thinking about how much my self-image changed in ineffable ways from this experience. I will never again look at myself as just a worthless queer SF writer pumping out trashy novels, but as a big fish in a little pond, writing the best work I can get published and running deep as a river with ideas, emotions, and the ability to really write about the soul in a meaningful way. Phil’s story gave me the courage to write the sorts of things I wanted to write, to be as daring and adventurous as I cared to be, and to push the envelope where before I was simply going through the motions and holding so much back. There’s no turning back now; whether I get recognized for my work or not, I’ve unleashed everything I could.
I suppose, if you believe in Jung’s idea that a meme is a thing that is very real in its own right, then simply absorbing the meme of his being has sort of replicated him, partly or fully, within me. To take on the thought patterns of a dead man is to take on his identity in a very real way, and it didn’t take much effort at all for me to take on his thought patterns because I was already a prime host for them. It’s clear, from how well I was able to deduce certain details about his life, that I’m not blowing smoke up my own ass; I really do know his mind.
Perhaps this is what Elisha was to Elijah; not so much his reincarnation as one who was similar enough- on the same wavelength if you will- and was charged to become Elijah’s replacement because he was an acceptable host for the meme, the archetype, that was everything that defined Elijah.
I am probably not the reincarnation of Philip K. Dick, but his archetype persists.