Have you ever considered the notion of reincarnation? Felt like you’ve been here and done that before? I know I’ve explored that sensation more times than I’m comfortable mentioning. What’s more, I have unexplained reactions to past events that make no sense to me. Today author M.G. Miller will take the stage and share the thoughts he has pondered on this subject. He has some very interesting examples that will make you stop and think. Please welcome M.G. Miller to the blog, creator and author of the literary work of art known as Bayou Jesus.
Remember Audrey Rose, Frank De Felitta’s staple of 70s horror whose blurb was THE Novel of Reincarnation? There used to be a time when you couldn’t go in any used book store without seeing at least a couple copies, with a young, wide-eyed Brooke Shields staring out from the cover.
But the 70s were all about reincarnation, UFOs and Bigfoot (and Farrah’s hair). Loved it. (And still do.) Couldn’t wait each week for Leonard Nimoy’s In Search Of, a precursor to Unsolved Mysteries. Another novel from that time was Max Ehrlich’s The Reincarnation of Peter Proud. And while I’ve read both Audrey Rose and Peter Proud, even Shirley Maclaine’s Out on a Limb, I don’t know enough about reincarnation to say whether I believe in it or not, even though I’ve personally experienced some pretty strange and unexplainable things.
For instance? When I was writing the first draft of Bayou Jesus, set in the Deep South during the Great Depression, I had to do a great deal of research. There were times, though, when I was writing so hot and heavy, that I just had to keep going; didn’t want to lose my groove. If I came across a passage that required I double-check facts, I’d just fill in the blank and make a note to go back and research later. Nine times out of ten, though, when I did go back and research, I found that I was correct in my assumptions, without having known the facts.
A more detailed ‘for instance’? Bayou Jesus is set partly in Lake Charles, Louisiana, near the Texas border. I wanted something to symbolize the presence of evil, and the most believable thing I could come up with was the smell of sulphur, which is commonly identified with Satan. So, I worked a sulphur mine into the setting, hoping that I’d be able to keep it. And whatta ya know? As it turns out, there’s sulphur mining in the area. But how the hell could I have known that? Chalk it up to writer’s intuition if you want.
But why was I, a white man, so fascinated with the plight of blacks in history in the first place? I grew up in a Mayberry bubble, where the only blacks I encountered were on TV (and at the time, there weren’t very many there, either). But the year I turned seven, I started to have a recurring nightmare, one which plagued me nearly every night for a year.
I’m a black man. My hands are bound over my head with rope. The rope is tied to a white horse. The horse is running at full gallop. Up rocky inclines. Down ragged slopes. The rocks shred my flesh. I’m being drug to death.
And I woke, sick and terrified.
This went on for an entire year. When I turned eight, the dream stopped. What was its significance? What was I being told? Was I haunted or possessed by an outside force? Why did it come to me so vividly as a child? For that matter, why would any child dream of it? I’ve heard it said that children are much more open receptors to the spiritual and supernatural, and I’ve experienced some things that make me believe it’s true. It’s as we grow older that our receptors dim.
Now, I’m not here to say that dreams or sulphur mines are proof of anything; I did, after all, say that I don’t know enough about reincarnation to say whether I believe in it or not. But the question remains. Why did I seemingly have a sixth sense in the writing of that particular book? Why was I plagued as a child by dreams of being a black man drug to death by a horse? I could spend the rest of my days speculating, but I don’t think I’ll ever learn the answer.
And maybe, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Wow! Thank you, Mike, for that look into your past and into the making of your book, Bayou Jesus. Your story has really stirred my curiosity. So what do you think, readers? Could the story be a rough retelling of a past life? Or was it more on the lines of information being gifted to him for the purpose of the book? His muse busy at work, if you will. I was always fascinated with the story of Audrey Rose. Deep down, I felt like it should mean something more, but could never put my finger on what exactly. We’d love to hear your thoughts on reincarnation and the possible connections that may exist in the making of M.G. Miller’s book.
M.G. Miller is the author of numerous Southern Gothic novels and short stories. He has received awards from Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma states for his work, and is a former fiction editor for a national horror magazine. The book, Bayou Jesus referenced above, was recently re-released in its third run, and will soon be made available in audio book format. The book follows the life of one charismatic black man by the name of Frank Potter. He will emerge a gifted preacher and be called the Bayou Jesus. The inevitable tragedy of Christ’s passion will unfold just as the possibilities of miracles surrounding Frank become all too real. Bayou Jesus is the winner of the Oklahoma Writers competition for best mainstream novel, a Deep South Writers prize from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and an Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award. You can find M.G. Miller on Twitter or at his website and blog.
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52 thoughts on “M.G. Miller Talkin’ Audrey Rose and Bayou Jesus – Guest Post”
This is such a powerful thought-provoking post. It’s good to be empathetic to the plight so many others have (sadly) faced. People like you make our world a brighter place.
Isn’t he an amazing man, Elisa? I just love him. I started his book. Love the feel of it. I hear so many great things. As I do about yours! I think I’ll need a big box of tissue when I read yours though. 🙂
And Debra? Can I tell my mom that you said that? She’ll love it. Ha. Thank you.
Of course you can Mike! But I’m sure your mother doesn’t need any validation, She knows.
Thank you so much, Elisa. You certainly made a bright spot in my day 🙂
Sounds like a very interesting book. I’ll have to check Amazon and see if they have paper copies for sale. Thanks for the info, Debra.
They did before the holidays, Emma. But I think they may have sold out since then. 🙁
Yes, I’m afraid there are no more hardcopies left. There’s a possibility that I may use CreateSpace to make a few copies for signing at conferences, and if that comes to fruition, I’ll certainly let you know!
Lucky me. BAYOU JESUS is on my Kindle, bwa ha ha ha. Can’t wait to read it.
Ooh, me too! I have it on kindle and then I won the hard copy. You know which one I opted to start reading? The hard copy, of course. 🙂
And yes, Debra has the ebook and also won one of the last hardcovers. Told her that now she just needs the audio and the action figures. Ha.
All right for that, Pat! Do hope you enjoy!
Bayou Jesus sounds really interesting and a book I would be interested in reading!
As far as reincarnation ~ I’ve always been fascinated by the possibility. I would like to believe that it’s a possibility. I will say that my experience with it has to do with smell. There is a certain scent that terrifies me for no apparent reason. Maybe trauma from a past life? I don’t know, but it’s definitely weird! (cue Twilight Zone music…)
Great guest post! (and Debra, thanks so much for the trackback ~ you’re awesome!)
It has always fascinated me as well. I always held on to the fact that there were very few names written in the book of the Bible that were to be saved at the end of all time. When you compare that number to the number of people that have lived over the centuries it just didn’t make sense to me. My theory was that those names are soul names and each soul gets multiple lives, possibly to learn certain lessons or gain a particular insight. Something along that line.
You are very welcome for the pingback. 😀 It was my pleasure.
Now that’s interesting that the smell is a trigger, Kim. Makes perfect sense to me, I’m just sorry that it’s associated with a bad experience. But in my experience, it seems like it’s the bad experiences that get drudged up the most. Maybe we should go to an aromatherapy shop and sniff all the candles until we find one that makes us remember something good! Thanks for your comments, Kim.
And Debra, that’s a really fascinating theory you have there about the names to be saved in the Bible. You need to turn that into a bestseller, lady!
Wow, this was a great post! I’m about to publish a book that I initially wrote back in my teens that was inspired by “The Reincarnation of Audrey Rose”! Matter of fact, I’ve been thinking about blogging about that book myself! I’m thinking this is a good sign to go with it! When I read Miller’s experience writing about stuff he shouldn’t have known, I thought…that’s happened to me too! I’m willing to bet you’ll find a great many authors claiming the same experience. I think we tap into a universal knowledge when we are deep in the throes of writing. But I also believe that some of the things we’ve experienced in other lives also comes through. So, obviously I believe in reincarnation. My two year old son used to talk about his life as a man all the time. At his age, he shouldn’t have known the stuff he knew. He also talked about dying and how he didn’t like it and didn’t want to do it again.
So anyway, I enjoyed the guest post, thanks! Wishing the best of luck to Miller and his book!!
The theory of a “universal knowledge” is an interesting one. That has sparked an idea for me. Thank you.
What your son has talked about is really interesting. That is the kind of stuff that really makes you wonder. My daughter used to talk about the friend she would play with and the things the friend would tell her. But that would be something totally different. It just goes to show how younger kids are either more open or have a very vivid imagination.
My advice: Follow the signs, Deborah! That’s really interesting (and a little unsettling) about your son. And I really really like “tapping into a universal knowledge”. I think that’s the most well put I’ve ever heard it. You know exactly where I’m coming from. Thank you for the good wishes, and my very best to you!
And Debra, I do believe that children are more attuned. I’ve experienced some things with them that I still can’t explain.
Thank you for such an interesting post! The intensity and sheer genius of Bayou Jesus is mind blowing. Miller is a briliant writer. The emotions in Bayou Jesus are so raw, I wouldn’t doubt that there was a past life experience involved. It’s truly remarkable.
Thank you for sharing Luna! I can’t wait to get that deep into the book. I am just in the beginning pages, having just gotten my hands on it. That is such a fascinating thing to think about. And how many other authors are tapping into the same sort of thing, I wonder. Thank you for stopping by and commenting on Mike’s guest post.
Thank you, Luna! From the bottom of my raw little heart 🙂 That means a great deal to me.
And Debra, I think we all tap into it in varying degrees, whether we’re aware of it or not. I think we’ve all sat back and said, “Whoa, where did that come from?”
That post was great. I’ve always been fascinated by reincarnation. Best of luck with the re-release of Bayou Jesus.
Thank you Emma, I’m sure he appreciates that. It is a fascinating subject, isn’t it?
Thank you, Emma! My best to you.
I believe in it, probably since “The Reincarnation of Peter Hobbs. But then I also believe in spirits and ghosts. I think we all wonder what happens when we die, is it different for everyone, are only a few reincarnated? Great topic today. I look forward to reading M.G.’s book.
Now I’ve got to go blog about life and death…Love it when someone else’s blog triggers a post.
Thanks for sharing Debra 🙂
Yes, do blog will the spark of creativity is fresh! Thank you for your comments. They are all interesting things to ponder.
Hi, Karen. I’ve heard it said that the same souls keep being reincarnated, which might explain Debra’s theory on Bible names. So much to ponder. One thing I do believe in is energy, whether we call them ghosts or whether it’s the concentration of emotion. Whatever the case may be, I’m glad we were able to spark your creative fire! Write on!
I shared your blog and M.G.’s amazon link for his book on my blog here http://differentcornersinmylife.blogspot.com/2012/02/after-you-die.html
Thanks for the share! 🙂
You are awesome 🙂 Thank you!
Ooh, Mike is a very interesting, multifaceted man. The story is intriguing. Funny how things that happen in our childhood stick with us and influence our thinking and creativity. But why can’t we let go of it? What makes us hold on to them? How great was that to weave it into a story. And I too Mike lived in a very Mayberry part of town. But as I grew older, I came to love the diversity and saucy ethnicity that made such a strong impact on me from awesome new friends along the way.
Great post Mike! And thanks for being such a gracious host Debra! 🙂
Thank you Karen! I really enjoyed your comment. Maybe someday we will get to hear about your hometown experiences. As for my hosting abilities, I can only hope to learn more from you, queen hostess!
Debra’s the hostess with the mostest, isn’t she? Thank you so much for having me over to chat with everyone today. So many good questions raised, and so much to ponder. I wonder if my mind will turn off tonight and let me sleep. lol.
Hi, Karen! I’ll take ‘multifaceted’ over ‘eccentric’ any day. lol. Thank you 🙂 And what a great question. Why CAN’T we let go of these things? There’s gotta be a book in that statement, don’t you think? And indeed, once I broke out of my own Mayberry bubble, I never looked back. If only more people could understand that stepping out of their comfort zones can lead to rich and rewarding experiences and relationships, they would do it without hesitation. So glad our virtual paths have crossed 🙂
I was a huge fan of In Search Of when I was a kid! I’m still wondering where those killer bees that were supposed to take over North America are…
Ahahaha! In Search Of is one of my fondest childhood memories. I bought the series a couple years ago just for the trip down memory lane, and it’s still great! Bees and Bigfoot. Can’t go wrong.
I loved that show too. I can still picture Leonard Nimoy in his turtle neck when I think back to it. Classic.
Powerful and spooky. It was nice to get to know M.G. a bit, I’ve seen his comments around the blogosphere, but wasn’t sure who he was. Now I know! Thanks for having him on your blog, Debra. I love the name of his book, ‘Bayou Jesus’. Just those two words conjure up so many images…
It was my pleasure to have him, so you are most welcome. 😉 Now that you know who he is you can wave “Hi” when you see him. 🙂 Great to see you Tameri! Thanks for stopping by.
Hi, Tameri. Thanks for stopping in. My former pubilsher wanted to change the title, but I said the title stays or I go. I won 🙂
Um…I just realized that I’ve been sending Bayou Jesus praise to an MJ! Serious blond moment. 😉 I love the notion of past lives. And Bayou Jesus sounds fantastic! (As MJ knows well…)
Thanks for sharing this, Mike and Debra.
That sounds like something I might to. Hehe. Seriously, we crowd our brains with so much stuff these days, something is bound to leak out. :/ You are most welcome for the share. I was my pleasure!
Hey there, August! Heh, I’ve had blond moments, too–and I’m a brunette. But no matter. “MJ” appreciates you 😉 Thanks for stopping by.
Love the reincarnation topic. When I was a little child I used to dream of being in a submarine, and not being able to get out. I refused to get on the submarine ride at Disneyland until it was pointed out to me that the thing never went underwater.
I bet that was rather disturbing. How awful to have terrifying dreams like that. I was never crazy about the idea of a submarine anyway. They have no good exit plan. To this day I can’t watch any show or movie having to do with WWI. I don’t know why, but it rocks something in my core and it’s not a good feeling. It feels personal. I can’t explain it.
Hi, Serena. Now that’s a terrifying dream. I’m claustrophobic, so that would’ve done me in. Thanks for stopping by!
And Debra, if it “feels personal”, maybe you should write out those fears, and try to explain it. You may really tap into something there, and face down that fear.
Maybe I will – someday. 🙂 I’m too focused on other things right now. Thanks Mike. 🙂
Seriously creepy post, Mike. I loved it! I’ve never had any weird things like that happen to me. At least not that I remember. Loved getting all the inside looks at the writing of Bayou Jesus. Kind of makes me want to reread it (I do need to study Alice if I’m going to play her, after all 😉 ). Thanks for an awesome post and thank you Debra for hosting!
I’ll have to pay special attention to Alice. 😉 I didn’t know you were an actress as well Jessica? You are a lady of many talents! Wasn’t it extremely awesome of Mike to share this insider’s look at Bayou Jesus? I found it fascinating. 🙂 Thank you for coming by and thank you Mike for hanging out and chatting with everyone! 😀
Thanks, Jessica! And yes, you defiitely need to study up on Alice. You might need hair extensions now, though. Ha. Thanks for hanging out with us 🙂
Ha! Yes, I would need extensions. Good thing I have not one, but two sisters-in-law who do hair. 😉
Thank you so much for having me over, Debra. It’s truly been a pleasure.