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Getting Inspiration From “The Beyond”

I was at a writer’s event this past weekend, some of us less jaded publicists do this on occasion to stay connected with the next crop of authors, to get their perspective on any new challenges the industry is presenting, what their visions and goals look like, I personally know it keeps me grounded to some degree and helps me communicate better with my clients, helps me close the gap (as much as is in my power) between writer and corporate publishing giant.

That being said, I meet a lot of wonderful people and certainly some characters.

Without fail when I go to an author event, or hell, it happens in line at Starbucks on the rare occasion I let slip what I do for a living, I always end up meeting people who are dying (no pun intended) to tell me about how they get their inspiration from “the beyond”. No joke. This is not that uncommon.

Some say their work is a result of channeling, as in the individual “chose them” to be their voice, but others, more impressively, actually were these people in a past life.

I kid you not; I met a woman this weekend that had been Cleopatra in a former life and all I could think about was the pressure she must be under. Real or not this woman believes it’s real, and from a psychological standpoint, isn’t that what really matters? And in case you were wondering, no, I can’t tell you when she plans on publishing, but if it does come to fruition I’ll certainly do a follow up post…

But what also got my thinking, in my years of doing this, and of all the authors I’ve met that either channel famous dead people or are here as a reincarnated version of them (again, I can’t stress how high this number actually is) no one I’ve met is channeling or has come back from being someone infamous or even less than desirable.

Honestly, I’ve now met Cleopatra, but I’ve also met Elizabeth Taylor (who apparently didn’t waste any time), Walt Disney (ambitious), Jackie O (great for drama), Marilyn Monroe (cliché) and John Lennon (who was surprisingly boring), just to name a few. But I’ve never met anyone “evil” or like I said, someone that made me go, “Huh, really?”

And I’d like to! Seriously, if these people exist I want to encourage them to come out of the wood work and contact me about a book project, I think it would be fascinating! For example:

Joseph Stalin. Where is he at and why hasn’t he written a book on corporate leadership? Business books sell like hot cakes and I could only imagine he’d have an opinion or two.

Adolph Hitler. I envision a how-to guide about changing careers. Advice, suggestions, tips and resources for those still looking for “their calling”. He’s the poster boy for “pathetic poor artist attempts to take over the world” – how many of those are just taking up seats at coffee shops these days?

Leona Helmsley. Who is more fitting to write a common man’s guide to understanding and navigating the federal tax system? Maybe she could rewrite “Taxes for Dummies”.

Edward Smith, more commonly known as the captain of the Titanic. I’m pretty sure he’s working for Carnival right now but could find time to write a travel book on the exotic, thrilling nature of travel by water.

“Mama” Cass Elliot, (you can see this one coming right?) a cookbook! Who wouldn’t buy that? The curiosity alone would sell her millions! 101 Killer Sandwich Recipes.

And who doesn’t remember JonBenet? I think a parenting book is in order (and I’m skipping over the obvious tell-all). For everything that family’s been through, and what parent hasn’t worried about losing a child with abductions all over the news these days, this could be the best preventative book the parenting genre has ever seen.

Finally, there’s Lindsay Lohan. Okay, okay, I know she isn’t dead yet, but any drunk, aspiring writers out there looking for inspiration should just wait a bit longer, she may be contacting you soon.

I could brainstorm these for days! I’d love to hear your ideas, who would you like to see come back from history and what book would you love to read from them?