Okay, so I finished reading "The Perils of Pearl Street," said to have been written by Asa Greene. That's the one for sale for $6,500, apparently because it's one of the earliest published works to talk about Wall Street, in 1833 (it was published in 1834, but the narrator says he wrote it in 1833).
Do you know how sometimes you get ready to say something, and you already know whoever you're saying it to won't believe you? This is an obvious thing, and despite the hefty pricetag for an original copy, it's certainly not famous. Who has ever heard of Asa Greene, except, perhaps, your broker's college professor?
Mathew Franklin Whittier wrote this book. It is semi-autobiographical (whereas it would have to be entirely fictional, for Greene). Abby is even in there. Do you want to see what he says about her?
I thought of returning to my native village of Spreadaway. I longed to see Mary Dawson. I had not met with her equal among the city belles--her equal I mean, not in wealth and fashion, but in unadorned beauty and modest loveliness.
Now, I like to trouble-shoot things, by the scientific method--which is to say, by making hypotheses and testing them by eliminating variables. The question before us is, why doesn't anyone take me seriously, or express a serious interest in my work? Because I think it is intrinsically as interesting as soap, or eyeliner, or kittens riding on the back of big dogs, or any of the other things that people pay attention to. So if it is intrinsically interesting, something is blocking it. What could that be?
Let's take out the variable of a famous literary claim. Let's make it something obscure, an obscure work and an obscure author, like "The Perils of Pearl Street," by Asa Greene. Do you think I could get someone to take me seriously, now? Not if I mention reincarnation. I tried that recently. I tacked on a mention that my discovery came in the context of a reincarnation study.
So let's suppose it's not a famous claim, and I don't mention reincarnation (set aside the fact that my name is easily searched online, so this test will be short-lived). I haven't tried it, but I think I would still not be taken seriously, unless I had a degree, and probably some kind of past publishing credentials. Then would I be taken seriously, say, about Asa Greene and Mathew Franklin Whittier? Probably not, unless I had political clout in academia. If I didn't have friends in high places, my papers, submitted to journals for publication, would be shot down by the referees. I wouldn't be able to get it published. And thus none of my colleagues would hear about it.
Suppose I got it published. I don't know, but I'm guessing I would be shunned by my academic peers as a maverick.
So "The way is shut."
Aside from academia, what do we have left--the general public? The general public doesn't care unless it's a famous case. They don't care about reincarnation, for one of several reasons: either it conflicts with their religion (i.e., Materialism or Christianity); it is inconvenient because it means 100% accountability; or they are so convinced they are their physical bodies, that they can't conceive of anything else. I have been with people who studiously ignored the question of mortality and immortality until death caught up with them. Trust me, you don't want to do that.
So this issue about being 100% certain that Mathew Franklin Whittier was the real author of "Perils of Pearl St." is one domino in a chain-reaction. I won't trace the chain, here--it means I really am Mathew's reincarnation; that reincarnation is real; that Materialism is false; and that there actually is 100% accountability. It means you can't squeak out of it as easily as you think you can. You aren't really going anywhere--you will still be there after your body falls away. You will face whatever music you played. And as a young Native American once told me, about dying in a car accident and finding himself on the other side; "You can't rationalize over there."
Oh, let's take away the variable of feeling wronged. I don't think Asa Greene took advantage of Mathew. Greene was his editor, the editor-in-chief of the "Constellation" in New York City. When that paper folded in 1832, and Mathew was on "sabbatical" for the year 1833, he started writing books, and Greene arranged for their publication. What their financial agreement was we don't know, but I'm guessing it was fair enough. Mathew wrote "A Yankee Among the Nullifiers" (i.e., a typical Yankee among Southerners), "The Debtor's Prison," "The Perils of Pearl Street," and "Travels in America." These all came out in 1833 and 1834. By 1837, I think Greene was getting some praise for these books. He was under strict secrecy not to reveal that Mathew had written them, so of course people assumed Greene was the author (the same thing happened in 1841, with Elizur Wright and the "Fables of La Fontaine"). People probably started urging him to write another book, and the idea didn't sound so bad to him--after all, he was an editor--so he penned "Glance at New York." I've taken a quick look inside this book, is all, but I don't think this is Mathew's prose. It's too prolix (too what?). That was one of Mathew's favorite words--it means verbose, or wordy. But I could be wrong. I still have four of these books to read, or at least peruse carefully, and that will be the last one.
I've been pushing it too hard, lately, because I knew that "Perils" had autobiographical elements in it. I have a pretty good idea, now, of what he was doing in New York City during the early 1830's. These other books are more fictional--I don't think Mathew had spent any time in the South at this age (16 and 17); "The Debtor's Prison" is a social conscience piece, with a former Revolutionary War soldier ending up in debtor's prison (the way vets end up on the streets, today); and "Travels in America" is a parody of a Britisher's rather negative account of visiting the States. So we won't see much of Mathew's personal life in those, and I can just skim them to be sure that my characterization of them in my sequel is accurate.
Later, maybe I'll read them aloud to Abby, at my leisure, when I have more time.
I also have a few more short pieces to key in; and a whole bunch of proofreading, in addition to looking through these four books. But in about two weeks, at the end of April, I'm going to put all this work aside. I want to be as healthy, and as little sleep-deprived, as possible when I drive to Portsmouth for my 10:00 p.m. interview.
I mentioned that an original copy of "Perils" is $6,500 (or $5,500, I think the cheaper one is). A copy of "Travels in America" was only $300 on the same website--but I got one from another store for half that, $150. And that will have to be the end of my collector's extravagances for awhile.
People have no idea how powerful this work is, or how good my books are. But I'm not going to beat a big drum about it. Speaking of drums, here is what Mathew has to say about "drumming," which in 1833, was a colloquialism for high pressure sales:
I made very awkward work at drumming. In my several attempts that way, during a stay of about four months, I do not recollect to have secured a single customer. It was not a business to my liking. I was entirely out of my element; and felt all the while like a fool. I was either too modest, or too proud; I have not exactly settled which.
Indeed I am not certain but I was too honest: for I repeatedly caught myself telling the truth, very much in opposition to my masters' wishes. For instance, when soliciting custom, in al; dutiful compliance with the commands of my superiors, I was naturally inquired of as to the quality of the merchandize offered; and when I was expected to pronounce it unqualifiedly of the first rate, I have frequently caught myself in saying--"Um! I don't know--about so so--middling perhaps--or thereabouts"--and thus, before I thought of it, "damning" my employers' goods "with faint praise."
I am still the same way, today. In fact, I had essentially the same experience with my video production business, Gold Thread Video Productions, as Mathew had with his dry goods business. If I thought the client needed a different product from the one I could provide, I'd refer him. When I thought a client's invention might not sell, I suggested he do some more marketing research and get back to me.
When I say that in a past life I wrote "The Raven," I mean it--after 10 years, that's what came out of my research. When I say I made the unbelievable mistake of mis-identifying an 1850's daguerreotype as Abby, when she died in 1841 and photography had barely even made it to the United States by that time, I am being honest.
If you think I am being a megalomaniac claiming the past-life authorship of "The Raven," this is what you would be doing if you claimed such a thing. In other words, you are projecting. That's not what's going on with me.
Well I could talk myself hoarse to three people. I don't dare make this blog public, because I don't want my employer to see it. The reason I have to do that, is that nobody buys my books, which means I have to work in order to supplement my social security income. I shouldn't have to. I have made a significant-enough contribution to Society, that I at least shouldn't have to work a part-time job at age 65. Something is very wrong with this picture, and it isn't me. If my work was even supporting me in my very modest lifestyle, I could make this blog public, again. But people do hit my home page. The daily visits to this website have been up over 400 every day this month. But nobody buys my books, despite the fact that they are listed prominently at the top of the page, now. Not gaudy or sensationalized--they're just matter-of-factly listed, with purchase links.
Perhaps this isn't a good time to be taken serious. Perhaps anonymity is better, right now. Timing is everything--and timing is in Abby's hands, or the hands of the Council she answers to, or in the hands of whoever they answer to. Clearly, it's not in my hands, but then, that may be for the best, since I can hardly see five feet down the road.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Audio opening this page: from the film, "Lord of the Rings"