Here’s a true story:
When I was 16 years old, I tried leaving my body to find my mother.
It was late at night, and I was lying on my IKEA futon mattress in the Long Island basement apartment I shared with my siblings, when I found myself staring at the yellow water-stained ceiling missing her.
Where is she now? I wondered.
What would my life be like if we could be together?
And then I thought:
What if I could go and visit her?
I had been raised on her fantastical stories informed by her hippie existence in the 1970s beneath the “magical” vortex of Mt. Shasta California— where she had taken us to live before her disappearance, and eventual passing. I remembered sitting side by side with her on our gold, crushed velour couch inside our log cabin, and listening to her tales about travelling in our sleep, and the many worlds we couldn’t see.
Astral projection was in part what she believed, I would come to learn. My father had kept some of her old books on the basement bookshelf, and I’d come to sift through them, versing myself in her world of silver lifeline cords, the highlands and lowlands of the astral plane, and the many portals to other universes.
Some of it — much of it to be honest — read as hokey and ridiculous, but that night, as I lay on the futon, I guess you could say my teenage angst and longing superseded my cynicism, and I decided to try my own luck at lifting out of my body.
Using the techniques offered in the books, I began by relaxing and getting myself into a deep meditative state. I tried to think of where I wanted to go and tried to imagine her face as I would see it. I tried, too, to remember those places she’d told me about. And then I closed my eyes and said her name over and over until I felt a low vibration in my chest and a tugging sensation, as if a rope was attached to my solar plexus… as if I were being pulled to her.
When I dared to open my eyes, the yellow water stain of the ceiling loomed six inches from my face.
I got scared, naturally, wondering, what is really above this ceiling? What if there aren’t lowlands or highlands? What if there is someone other than my mother pulling me out? And I fell back and snapped into my body.
So I believe.
Whether or not I truly left my own skin that night, or whether one is capable, I have no idea. I do know that the incident would stay with me for the next 30 something years, until one day I would use it as inspiration for a young adult novel.
That novel, THE INDIGO, is being published by Stone Tiger Books 5/16, and is available for preorder here.
My fictional protagonist is 16, and — because as much as I want my characters to suffer to please the reader, I thought the story would be stronger if she actually had a fighting shot at getting what she wants — her own mother is still alive in a coma. No worries, though: there is plenty of character suffering, and hopefully reader-pleasing.
If you know a teen (ages 13-16) who likes magical realism, fantasy, or paranormal mystery—or if you yourself enjoy the genre, as I do, check out the novel.
Thanks for your continued support!