On the one hand, I still haven’t completely given up on the prospect of having been Philip K. Dick in my last life. The semblances in personality are pretty uncanny, as I’ve prattled on at length about over the last two and a half years.
Lately though, I’ve been getting flashes of another life in England that I believe may have ended some time between 1940 and 1955. Very brief ones, and only two so far, both featuring a beautiful woman. I believe I was a man of some means, refined, passionate, and suave, but died in my prime.
This is problematic because this is an awful lot like one of the characters from my most recently published book. I’m reluctant to believe anything that too closely resembles the suave, dapper, debonair mid-century British aerospace engineer I conceived in my book, who was born in 1901 and has a vision in 1946 that reveals that he will die in 1957 (a bit longer than the life I keep seeing, but only by about 14 years). On the other hand, the character was so convincingly written that I may well have been drawing from a deeper well of personal experience.
Maybe it’s nothing. The woman I saw looked a little too much like some fantasy from a Hollywood movie, wearing this sleek 40s high fashion dress and coming out of the fog as I listened to Jussi Bjorling’s rendition of “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot, a song that could very well have been the soundtrack of a Hollywood movie.
None of this has the feel of verisimilitude I got when I tried on Phil as a past life identity. It feels like the creation of my own romantic mind, and not the sad, painfully ordinary and constantly fearful man I saw myself as, peering fearfully through blinds at unmarked cop cars in the early 70s. There was nothing romantic about being Phil as I remembered it, and anything that smacks of more romance than the life of an impoverished writer- the only reality I’ve known in my present adult life- seems both presumptuous and wishful thinking.
About the only reason I have to give this latest flash of the 20th century the benefit of the doubt is because I hadn’t actually been trying to dig up past life memories lately. I felt like I was trying too hard and I had walked away from it. This flash was spontaneous and unexpected. Still, something about it doesn’t pass the smell test.