I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel with my digitizing/archive project. I am now in the last month of 1831, with this weekly newspaper, the New York "Constellation." I was just looking at photographic copies of the five physical editions of this paper that I own. One of them contains the first installment of Mathew's faux reports from the moon, signed "Peter Pendergrass." There's no question this is my past-life work as a young Mathew Franklin Whittier. He used various pseudonyms based on a double-letter "P" for many years. Why, I don't know. He just liked the alliteration of it, I suppose, though there may have been another purpose. Mathew typically had layers of purposes.
Once again, there was probably a deep context to this series. Abby, his future wife, now only 14 years old, had begun tutoring him in the classics; but she was also trying to teach him esotericism, as she had, perhaps, learnt it from her Scottish mother. And Mathew, being a skeptic, would lampoon these things. I keyed his lampoon of the monthly horoscope just recently. Here, Abby has told him that the stars and planets are where people go when they die. Of course she was wrong, if she meant the physical planets (the idea was around at the time). But if she meant their astral equivalent, that may be another story. In any case, Mathew took it literally, and it occasioned this series, wherein he--as "Peter Pendergrass"--visits the moon and reports on its inhabitants, customs and society. Clearly, it is heavily influenced by "Gulliver's Travels." But for an 18-year-old, it's pretty clever. And it may be the first instance of a trip to the moon in literature. Don't hold me to that--I'm just not aware of any earlier ones. It would mean, in effect, that I wrote the first science fiction story!* Actually, it is not intended to be taken seriously--there is no effort to make anything scientifically correct, or even plausible. It is simply social satire with a trip to the moon as its excuse. Still, it's interesting. I wrote and submitted science fiction short stories when I was around the same age, in this life.
I've shared the first installment of that series, in a previous Update. But it was the third one, I think it was, which I keyed in more recently, that I thought was really up-to-snuff. At some point I may share that one, as well.
I don't really have anything new to say, today. I was just thinking, that aside from feeling rejected and shunned, such that no-one seems to take my work seriously, I feel sorry for the people who are missing out. This is such an amazing study, and such an amazing book, and people are missing it entirely. I don't know what they imagine it to be, but I'm pretty sure it isn't anything like what they think it is. But you can't enjoy something if your mind is dead-set against it. If someone held your head in place, put the book in front of you and pinned your eyes open, so you had to see it, you would find it boring.
Actually, I think only a literally handful of people read this blog each day; and I don't know how many are repeats. Who would read this blog on a regular basis, and not buy the book? I can't imagine. It doesn't make sense, because if you were interested enough to keep reading the blog, one would think you would be interested enough to read the book. Then again, I have friends who tell me they check in periodically, and yet, cannot force themselves to read the book, itself. A few have tried, and just can't get into it. I shouldn't tell you thinks like that, of course. But I am being honest--as I have been, strictly, throughout the study and my entire presentation. No-one has really gotten what I'm doing; because it is really and truly amazing. And fascinating; and entertaining.
Sometimes I think I would like to write an entry and not make any corrections, at all. I did that only once; God knows what kind of errors I have in the above, since I'm dog-tired this afternoon, and hardly even know what I'm writing. But I think I'll do that, today, on a whim.
Funny--just then, it looked as though I'd accidentally erased the entire page by accident! But I'd only created a new Word Pad page...
I don't believe in hype; I don't believe in advertising, in the sense it is now used. I didn't as Mathew, either. I have always been taught that if you create a better mousetrap (and, aren't all the old sayings all violent?), they will come. Well, they haven't come. I've done something incredible, and nobody has come to my party.
I kill no mice...but if the plans of mice and men oft go astray, then my work may not affect any mice, but it will make the plans of many men go astray. Because if you radically transform someone's world view, you will radically alter their plans.
Right now, as Mathew would say, the public reception to my work seems entirely doormouse. I am struck, and not for the first time, with an image--a room full of people is in an uproar, as everyone scrambles for the treasure. They look here and there, under this and that, throwing things in the air, pushing and shoving. This one thinks he has it; that one thinks she has it. But I, and a handful of others, actually have treasure. We sit quietly and gaze bemusedly, and sadly, at the behavior of our fellows. No one pays us the slightest attention.
They aren't ready.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*I meant to say, of space flight. This story was published on March 19, 1831.
Music opening this page: "Evinrude Fever," by Eric Johnson, from the album "Europe Live"