Giacomo Casanova and Brad Pitt. Beauty standards change from time to time.
Brad Pitt picture by Georges Biard
This is the first blog post on my brand new international author website, wow!
To break the ice, a few words about myself. My name is Giuliano Golfieri, I am 44 years old, and I am an Italian novel author.
In 2015 I started a narrative experiment that changed my life. One morning I woke up and, while washing my teeth, asked myself: what would I do if I could live for one day in (a younger version of) Brad Pitt’s body? How many girls would fall at my feet in one hour? How would I behave with such a superpower?
This sounds funny and a bit stupid, I know, but it’s probably the very first spark that made me sit in front of my laptop and start writing my debut novel. The story of Alter Ego: My journeys beyond human boundaries has nothing to do with Brad Pitt, in fact. Not yet, at least.
It is set at the time of the French Revolution and is about a man with the gift to possess other people’s bodies.
Since when I was a kid, I always had a fascination with the concept of separation between body and soul.
I started very early to ask myself uncomfortable philosophical questions like: “Why have I been born me and not somebody else? Who or what decided that? If my mother had made me with somebody else instead of my father, only my body would be different or my soul as well?”
Imagine a six-year-old child pulling his mum’s skirt, asking, “Mommy, why am I me?”
Growing, I was influenced by movies made by people undoubtedly crazier than me, like The Matrix, to name one of my favorites. That kind of philosophical sci-fi added another brick to my imagination, making even more profound (and futile, you’ll say) questions arise.
“If my soul could get in somebody else’s body, how would I see the world? Would my senses be influenced by his feelings and memories, making things look and smell differently? Would I love the ones he loves, even if I don’t know or like those people when I am myself? Would I learn the abilities he has in one second?” And so on…
This is what I usually reply to who ask me how I came up with such a crazy idea for a novel. The reply to “Why did you set the story in the France of 1700?” is much more straightforward: “I was playing Assassin’s Creed Unity at that time.”
Ariel, the protagonist of Alter Ego, is lucky enough to spend a whole week in the body of one of the most famous lovers of that time: Giacomo Casanova. OK, probably he was not as handsome as Brad Pitt, and he was not a Hollywood movie star. Anyway, he had many juicy stories to tell during his years in Paris.
Getting back to the original question, think about it for a second: what would you do if you could live a day in Brad Pitt’s body?