Teddie, the hero of c3, has lived in my head since 2010 and I always knew what she could do, but I didn’t know what to call it. The other members of my superhero family have easy to name skills. We have a telepathic mom. Dad, who is a former athlete, can slow down the passage of time, making him appear quicker and more physical skilled than he really is. I call him a time warper. Big brother Zane has learned to morph his own appearance, becoming something of a real life shape changer.
But Teddie? Well, she can become invisible, I would tell people. And she can teleport somehow. Like she can be anywhere she wants and no one can see her. It’s possible. Trust me.
Why care if it is possible? Well, these are magical realism books, written so as to hopefully convince my readers that they just maybe could happen in the world in which we live. How am I ever going to convince a reader that a character could both turn invisible and teleport to anywhere, I wondered as I began to write the story.
Then it hit me. Her body doesn’t have to go anywhere. Just like Edgar Rice Burroughs sent his hero John Carter to Mars via some sort of astral projection, my hero could do the same. So I began to study astral projection and learned that it wasn’t quite what I wanted either. Teddie doesn’t need to go to some other plane of existence.
An out of body experience was what I was after. Did you know that there are books out there that will train you on how to have an out of body experience, and the internet is full of people happy to describe their own adventures doing the same? I didn’t, but I ran into something similar while writing x0 and researching telepathy. Both times I had to ask myself — do I believe any of this? Does it matter if I believe it?
I am a scientist in my real job, a geophysicist to be specific. I believe in the laws of nature and my default mode is skeptical. Thanks to my background, though, I also know that the universe behaves in many strange ways that we can’t explain, and that the more physics you know the stranger some of it gets.
So, I don’t know. Maybe a real life Teddie exists out there.In fact, maybe an entire c3 organization does. My assessment is that almost anything is possible. Probably a lot of these folks describing out of body experiences are just very imaginative people, and the answer lies in how they choose to see things. Maybe a few of them actually are scam artists or out-and-out deluded but certainly not all of them by any means. Given that, I did my best to treat the people I encountered with respect and the subject matter itself with an open mind.
No, I haven’t actually tried the training to induce an out-of-body experience, and I’m not sure if I ever will. I may be a little like my character Amy, recognizing that for me the state of not knowing for sure is sometimes a good one. Besides, I’m on to writing the next book now, as Teddie’s big sister Ariel struggles with seeing the future. Can anyone actually predict what will happen? If so, how does it work? I’m busy trying to figure it out.