The subject of life and death conjure up many old age questions. Questions of what happens when we die? Do we have a chance at more than one life? I am not here to discuss whether these questions are true or not. I believe everyone goes through a journey to answer these questions for him or herself. I have had some déjà vu experiences that I am not willing to put off as coincidence.
First, it is important to define what I understand so far. I am by no means an expert on this subject, but it fascinates me endlessly. I have learned that déjà vu is a memory of a past life that you can remember in this lifetime. You do not know all of your past “soul memories” in this lifetime because they can often be very traumatic. Once and awhile, you go some place or experience something that triggers a memory. Most people have no reason to question it, they often pass it off as “oh that seems familiar somehow or why do I like this (fill in the blank) so much? After the moment is recognized, it is often forgotten. Many of us can pinpoint some likes, dislikes or “affinities” we cannot explain. Phobias or wanting to travel some place “just because” or certain countries you want to visit even though you have no ties there.
My déjà vu experience focuses on a place. I have two places I have always wanted to go. I have no reason to travel there other than the fact “something” told me to go. One of these places is Gettysburg. I finally got the chance to visit and found it to be a very emotional place for me. Despite the emotion of the Civil war-time and what happened there. I found myself drawn to a certain church. Looking at the building gave me an overwhelming feeling of sadness and helplessness. I could not enter the building because of these intense emotions. The other places in town looked to be familiar and comfortable. When I talked about the battle, feelings of anger, frustration and protection came over me. I was angry the battle came there, upset at the destruction left behind for me to clean up. It felt personal to me. After my first visit to Gettysburg, I struggled with these emotions for months. I had vivid dreams about the church and blood all over me and my period dress. Do I have a vivid imagination or was I there? Am I possibly remembering what happened? I wanted to know why I felt suddenly felt as if Pennsylvania was my home.
I believe there is truth to past lives and déjà vu. I could not have written this novel with so much detail if I had not been there. I do not want to know exactly what happened to me then. I feel strongly that the past needs to stay in the past. The emotions of this place are too much for me to work through in this life. This is where the art of storytelling begins for me.
When creating the details of my book The Cause: Love & War; I knew Gettysburg had to be the place my heroine resided. Luckily, I was introduced to a National Park Service Guide willing to fill in the details I don’t know enough about. One cannot rely on bits and pieces of memories alone. Once I did some research about the fascinating people of Gettysburg; how the land looked in 1860 and where my character lived, I was ready to write. It felt familiar almost as if I were writing a memoir. I go back to Gettysburg every year. I need to visit because the pull is still very strong. I have made good friends there. Gettysburg feels like home. I am honored to write about this town with the pride a townsperson who lived, loved, and raised a family there.