Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)

Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)
"A curious and wonderful work of great human value by a Danish master." Sebastian Barry, Man Booker finalist (Click on the picture to go to the book's Amazon page)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Reincarnation: The Storyteller's Best Friend

Where do writers get their inspiration from?

Artists and other losers have pondered this question since the dawn of time - yes, even before that. But instead of writing boring essays about it, I wish they would've asked me.

That's right. I'm a novelist, blogger, and airhead, so I have all the answers to the biggest questions in the universe. And since I've written quite a few historical novels I've often asked myself, Peter, where do you get your inspiration from? Dusty PhDs, Renaissance paintings, powdered wigs?

The answer is easy, from hidden memory!

First of all, let me start with a confession that will gross you out: I believe in reincarnation.

So do most people in insane asylums, you might say. As we all know, the world is full of lunatics who are convinced they used to be Napoleon (Here's a test: If your neighborhood Napoleon starts to get nervous ticks when you mention Elba, he might have a case).

However, the belief in reincarnation is not a contest for big egos. It's a help to understand your life today. Our incarnations are still with us. They're hidden in our souls, they have determined our DNA (we were supposedly put in the families that "fit" our karma), and they're narratives that make us who we are today. If you like Jungian psychology, you could call them sub-personalities.

Whether we're writers or not, we're all full of stories that pop up from our subconscious and demand to be taken seriously. And if we're artists they creep into our novels, acting, film making, paintings or music.

Sometimes we learn about past themes from dreams and visions. Most of the time we're not aware of what we're doing. We just call the stories imagination, or we're grateful to our muse - a concept that we're more comfortable with in the Western world than reincarnation.

I have a special connection to Veneto.

Veneto is the region in Northern Italy where Venice and Verona are the two main attractions. It's a beautiful place that I respond to on a very deep level. I've written on several of my novels here, and through regressions and meditations I know of a past life in Veneto that is very important to what I am today - and what has stood in my way as well.

Don't worry, skeptics. Before you vomit all over my website, let me assure you I wasn't anyone "important". Sorry, I don't claim I was Dante or Mussolini (even though I do look good in black). I just know that I feel at home in Veneto and that I was born with some stories, anxieties, and abilities that have nothing to do with my childhood but everything to do with past experiences. I haven't written directly about them yet, but one day I will.

Some people will call this lunacy, but I know of four countries and four cities that I resonate with on a deep level. They give me goosebumps, visions, and ideas. They have taught me about spirituality, illogical fears, and they have convinced me that all humans are wonderful puzzles of DNA, childhood, environment, social class, upbringing, and most important, our soul's experiences through many lives.

The Arts, I believe, is a great way of getting those things out of our system.

And you don't necessarily need an airhead with an astrological chart to go deep. Or a clairvoyant reading your aura like it was Time Magazine.

You can just close your eyes, increase your awareness, and I bet the stories will find you when you least know it...

Pictures are from Bassano della Grappa and Marostica in beautiful Veneto.

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