My Guru, Meher Baba, taught that one had better be strictly honest, than to try to be modest. If you are strictly honest, you will simply be matter-of-fact about both your achievements, and your failures--your strong points, and your weaknesses. If you try to be modest, it is generally oily somehow.
I have enough foibles, and there are enough things I am bad at. But I have said that I can prove that in a past life, as Mathew Franklin Whittier, I was the original author of "The Raven," and that Edgar Allan Poe falsely claimed it. This is nothing short of outrageous, but again, I am saying I can prove it. The problem is, I can't find anyone who takes me seriously enough to spend enough time with the evidence.
But occasionally, in this blog, I have also mentioned that I'm a very good photographer. That, I should be able to prove quickly and easily. I can either show you excellent photographs, or not. Now, as to the matter of whether I stole someone else's photographs--the way that Poe published "The Raven" under his own name--that you will have to believe me about. Unless you go out with me on an expedition, and I take them in your presence.
However, we can do the next-best thing, here. Yesterday, I went to Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine--about a half-hour drive from where I live in Portland. With my cell phone, I took a handful of images, and I got four I'm pleased with. I didn't spend long doing this--maybe half an hour, tops. Today, I'm going to show them to you. If there was a need, I could show you the date stamp of the files. I can prove these are mine, and they're good. The only caveat is, do you have the aesthetic sensitivity, and/or the knowledge of photographic composition and technique, to recognize their quality? If you do, these are good images. (If you don't, they're still good images.) I won't say they're my best, but if I can take my cell phone out in a very cold breeze for 20-30 minutes,* when I'm rusty and haven't shot regularly in years, and get photographs like these, I'm good.
The only thing standing in the way of my proving Mathew Franklin Whittier's original authorship of "The Raven," just as solidly as I can prove that I'm a good photographer, is that the evidence for the former would take longer to show you. You would have to sit still, with an open mind, and listen long enough. Here, I don't have to do that. I only have to induce you to scroll down the page, and not to avert your eyes, and it's a done-deal.
I am amazed at the few people who have taken the time to listen to my recent radio interview, and who sort of have what you might call a mild interest. If I tell you there is an eight-foot alien standing right behind you, and I can prove it, but you don't look around, the only explanation is that you don't believe me. Because if you believed me, you would have to turn around. Likewise, if I told you in my past life I was the real author of "The Raven," you would have to get extremely interested, if you believed me.
Or maybe "The Raven" and Edgar Allan Poe are not big deals in year 2019. Maybe it's like, "So, what is that to me?" I don't know. But I would have to assume that if anybody believed me, they would be more than mildly interested.
The whole point of this is that these historical claims are my calling cards. They should be getting people seriously interested, and they should be selling e-books. Except that nobody believes me, even though I can prove it. The rest of the study is even more interesting, if anybody would give it a chance. But these things should be drawing people into it.
I am terrible at math, I can't sing very well, I am struggling to learn to play piano at even a beginner's level, but I am an excellent photographer. And I can prove it.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page, "Midare," by Nanae Yoshimura,
from the album, "The Art of the Koto"