Sunday, August 29, 2010

Regression for writers block is better than sex

As a radio (blog talk-radio) show host, I get to chat to authors, covering may different subjects and styles of writing, in fact I celebrated my 200th radio show in August. One of the subjects that I have been bringing up over the last several months was the “string theory” or parallel universe for writers.

At the time this was really tongue in cheek, now, with what has happened to me over the last few weeks, I just wonder how farfetched it really is?

My theory is that there is a parallel universe where the stories that us writers put down on paper exist, they are waiting there, for some author to come along and be the conduit that enables them to be shared in this world. Ninety nine percent of fiction authors will tell you, that no matter how detailed their plan is and how much they sketch out the plot, the characters; once you start to write, lead the author off on numerous tangents. Characters that originally were there just as background, suddenly take over the story, leading you a merry dance through the next few chapters if not the rest of the book.

I have spoken to numerous show guests about this very thing, some have even shared that such a character has taken over the book completely, nagging at their sub-conscience if they dare to stop, or spend time on another story.

This character pressure can take place during the creation period, or even, as some have shared, during moments of sleep. Several authors have explained that they keep a paper and pencil next to them during the night, to catch the moments of clarity when waking from a dream.

This creating from your sub-conscience, which is basically what it boils down to, took on a different aspect these last few weeks.

For some time I’ve been pondering statements made by fellow stall holders at a few book signing events. For some reason us authors tend to get put next to, or close to people doing “palm readings”, “tarot cards” and such. A few times, when business was slack (quite often), I and fellow authors have gone for “readings” from these stallholders. Each time I’ve had whatever type of reading, I’ve been told “you are a very old soul, and have been around a long time.”

What does that mean, “been around a long time”, does it mean I’m even older than I thought, or am I, as the old music hall song goes, “one of the ruins Cromwell knocked about a bit.”

Quite by chance I heard of a lady living not that far from me who does a readings, healings, and past life regression. Up until now I’ve never really thought much about such things; however with the previous statement about being the “old soul” I contacted her about a “regression session”.

Just a little skeptical, wondering if I could even relax enough to be a good subject, I went to the ladies house. It was a three hour session, the first hour just talking about things, how things worked, and what was I expecting etc. To be honest I did not know what to expect. I’ve heard of people going through two or three regressions at one session, and had no idea what was ahead of me.

When one thinks of events like “regression sessions” you perhaps think of being hypnotized like the TV shows, you know, “when I mention food, you will quack like a duck” sort of thing. This is actually far from what actually happened.

You relax, being stopped just above the point of going to sleep, you know where you are, you know what is going on, you can hear the person talking to, the air-conditioning unit, and people in the street. You are there but not there. Some people I’ve heard take you to a room with many doors, others to a road with many paths. Myself, I was taken to a library in a very old castle, and there found a shelf of books, each one being one of my past lives. Two books stood out, one blue and one red; the others were all dull grey. I took the blue book, place it on the floor and it grow until there was a door through which I stepped into a past life.

Okay some folk are saying, load of rubbish, and to be honest I had much the same skepticism. However as I moved through the past life, sometimes being able to touch things, sometimes hear things sometimes even smell things. I knew I was there, I was part of it. I remember at the time thinking, is this real or am I just a story teller narrating a story that is being created in my sub-conscience. Is this how stories come to writers? Be it in dreams or perhaps when they start creating their novel?

After what seemed to be about fifteen or twenty minutes I was brought back from my past life, with a greater understanding of some of the issues in my present life as well as many questions.

I was totally shocked to find upon completing the session, that instead of the fifteen minutes I thought I’d been in regression, in fact it was over an hour and a half. This was a huge shock to me; it was like I’d jumped into a different time line. Perhaps this is how alien visitors are able to travel so far and so fast? But I guess that’s a story for another time.

This event was on a Monday, and left me very confused, also though, seemingly more open mentally to the idea that such things were possible. Even that my theory for writers could actually be true, even if that “parallel world” might actually be your sub-conscience, or was your sub conscience the link to the parallel world?

Perhaps the relaxation part of a regression session, taking you to that point just above sleep, would be a way to get out of writers block?

I might have left it at that if it had not been for what happened over the next three days.

Let me explain first off, I book guests for my show “A Book and a Chat” three sometimes four months in advance, guests authors and even bloggers can come from any form of writing. I do not plan groups of shows unless they are a special like my November Male YA Author month. I sometimes have certain guests for longer Saturday shows, though normally it’s just a case of filling in dates with virtual tour authors or those just looking to share their work with the listening audience. Many times I do not even check what the author has written until a day or two before the show.

On the Tuesday after my regression session, I researched my guest for that night “Randolph J Rogers”. Imagine my surprise to find his book “The Key of Life” was all about regression and past lives. Coincidence? Is there such a thing as coincidence, or is it we all have our paths to walk down?

I would have just said yes, just one of those weird quirks, and then came Wednesdays show. My guest on Wednesday was Terry M. Drake chatting about his book “Live Happily ever After…Now”. Again will state I make no plan of shows have no idea when certain guests are on the show booking them three four months ahead of time. Yet the two days after my own regression session, and the day after my chat with Randy Rogers, here I was chatting to an author about how our lives are there before us, the choices we have in the paths we follow.

As you can guess by this time my own feelings, believes and understanding were starting to be shaken, this was not improved by my guest on the Thursday nights show.

Paul Rademacher and his book “A Spiritual Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe” once again lead me down paths that had been the theme of the whole week.

My views over the last week have changed and I am even more trying to understand how as writers we are guided by some force, be is from another world or our own sub-conscience to create the plot and characters that we do in our stories. As I jokingly said to one guest when she was saying that one of her characters might not be pleased with how she had displayed them, and that she kept getting the feeling of their displeasure when she wrote about that character.

Just imagine, if these stories were from another world, how one day they might visit this planet, and when you answered a knock on your door, there would be all your characters wanting to speak to you about how you had written about them.
Since that week, thoughts have been spinning around my head and in my dreams, telling me “I must put what happened down on paper”, so here it now is.

Anybody who knows me or has heard my show “A Book and a Chat” will tell you I am far from the séance driven, regression seeking, palm reading person that these events have made me look. I am fun loving and always looking for a laugh; however this last week or two has made this author think.

Anyway, as the title says, and as I found out when my clock seemed to go out of balance, a regression session lasts a lot longer than sex.

A week after I wrote this article, I was laying in bed thinking about what I had written and how strange things had become, when suddenly a voice came into my head saying…

Your name was Seth”.

I was freaked out. One of the things from the regression session was I knew my wife’s name and my daughters, but could not remember what mine was. I was told this was not unusual during regression session. It is something that had been playing on my mind since that day. Now out of the blue I had this voice telling me that my name had been “Seth”. I must admit I was shaking for a good ten minutes after the event. However it made me think even more about these voices or dreams that authors get telling them the story etc.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)
Author of "Across the Pond"

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