J. Nichols Mowery is a writer and artist. She and her husband, John, raised two children on an organic farm in Eastern Washington. She now lives near Seattle. “The Parallel Lives of Elizabeth Ann” is her first book. For more information and to buy copies of her new book, visit www.theelizabethstrilogy.com.
When I finally decided to write a novel, I focused on a relative’s story of immigrating to this country at the turn of the twentieth century. Several weeks into this effort, I became stymied as to which direction the storyline should take, fact or fiction.
In order to clear my head, I wandered out to the side of my garden where the nearest neighbor was an acre away. As I strolled the lush plantings along my fenced yard, I jotted down thoughts in the notebook I carried with me. Soon the midday sun became hotter than I liked, so I settled on the bench in the shade under the huge old maple on that side of the garden. The cool shade was exhilarating and ideas came rapidly. After about an hour of jotting down thoughts about the story, I decided to return to my office and get back to work.
However, when I stood, loud sounds of passing traffic came at me from a direction where I knew no roads existed. When I turned to see what was making such a racket, I was astounded to see that the fence and the lush plantings that edged my yard were gone. In their place was a busy city street scene with one woman walking along the sidewalk behind parked cars and parking meters.
I stopped and stared at the woman who stopped and stared back at me. She was my age, my height and had premature white hair as I did. I could see her very plainly and it was obvious she also saw me. We were exactly alike in all our features and build. The only difference came in our dress, she was in a business suit and I was in a T-shirt and jeans.
After some time, we began to walk in the same direction. Our arms swung in tandem with each stride we took. In her left hand, she carried a briefcase and I carried my notebook in my right. I slowed to see if she would slow down. She did. Cars and trucks passed between us cutting off our view of each other for brief seconds of time.
When a long truck passed between us, I stopped and, after it had passed, I saw the woman had also stopped and looked directly at me. At this time, I realized the woman was a mirror image of myself. For several minutes, neither of us moved. Finally we both turned and walked slowly, still looking at each other. When she reached the corner of her city block, she stopped to wait for traffic.
I was so fascinated by her that I continued a few steps and walked full force into a Birch tree at the end of my garden, nearly knocking myself out. When I got up off the ground, I looked to see if the woman was still at the corner of her block. To my great disappointment, both the woman and the city street scene had vanished.
Stunned by the hard jolt that ended the experience, I went back to sit on the bench under the huge maple and checked myself for scrapes and bruises. Finding little damage, I decided to walk slowly across the yard to see if the city street scene would reappear. Though I did this several times, neither the mirror image of ‘me’ nor the city scene ever came again.
For the rest of the day, I sat in my office and meditated on what I’d experienced. When nothing more came to me about what I’d seen, I turned my thoughts to the novel I’d been trying to write. As I sank into deep thought, a firm voice spoke to me at the back of my head and said, “Wrong book. Write Parallel Lives.”
My eyes flew open and I looked around to see if someone had come into my office. There was no one, the room was empty. I shouted, “What did you say?”
Again, the voice spoke, “Wrong book. Write Parallel Lives.”
This time I reached for my notebook and wrote down those exact words. Then, for the next hour, I tried to understand what they meant. Finally, totally undone by both the words that were spoken and the woman in the city scene, I called a good friend who was clairvoyant and told her of my experiences.
“How exciting for you.” she exclaimed, “You must have seen one of your parallel lives. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is only one of many as your family moved often when you were a child. When that happens, a child experiences extreme emotions of pain, anger or stress as they don’t like or want things to change. Those strong emotions are catalysts which cause such strong angst within a child that their small life splits off from the original child and flees into a parallel dimension taking the essence of what they love with them: friends, family, home – everything. This new dimension is created instantly so that neither the original child nor the new parallel life is aware that their young lives have changed.
“Considering how many times you moved during your childhood, many lives may have split from yours and now live unique lives in their parallel dimensions. Each of these entities would be exactly like you, the original child, with the same friends and family. No one within either dimension should ever be aware of other dimensions existing. What you have seen is extremely rare. My only suggestion is to meditate on it to see if more comes to you.”
For weeks, after I talked to my friend, the woman on the city street and the voice at the back of my head were the focus of my meditations. Finally on the Summer Solstice, while I walked one of my favorite Pacific Coast beaches, a flash of insight brought the lives of three women into my mind. Each woman told of being a parallel life from one child, the same child whose father built the cabin where each woman now resides within separate dimensions and their stories became the novel I recently published, The Parallel Lives of Elizabeth Ann. I hope my readers enjoy it!