I've taken the step of listing my books at the top of my home page, with the link to my online store at the top, and repeated at the bottom. My sequel, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own world," is a reasonable length of less than 150 pages, and it holds up very well in its own right. I've also posted Mathew and Abby's compilation of poetry, and all of these have a brief, no-hype description. That's as close as I'm getting to traditional advertising techniques.
There has not been a sudden run on the store. I really have begun to suspect that my work is veiled, somehow, to be discovered when the timing is right. My seeming invisibility is actually deeper than chance. As the sales representative for my documentary, "In Another Life" once told me, "Kids who get together over a couple weekends and shoot their own horror film, sell more copies than you do."
I had no-sooner posted the sequel this morning, than I stumbled across a cool new discovery. At least, it's cool to me. What strikes me is that Mathew, at age 61, in January of 1874, would never have imagined that his little ploy would be discovered. Nor would he have imagined that it was he, himself, who would discover it--in year 2018.
Just think about that, for a minute...
So, Mathew is giving a brief biographical sketch of a local artist, one John Rogers, who creates miniature group sculptures that he mass-produces. Mathew has done this many times before--and typically, if he praises an artist like this, it's not only the quality of his work, it's also his spirituality or his progressive politics that Mathew appreciates. So half-way through the account, I suddenly see that in 1859--two years before the Civil War began--Rogers created a sculpture depicting a slave auction. It was this which launched his fame, apparently. Meanwhile, Mathew had gone undercover as an investigative reporter in New Orleans, in 1848, and had also portrayed a slave auction, in a liberal Boston newspaper. So they had that in common.
Next, I see that Rogers had created a grouping with three famous abolitionists listening to a fugitive slave recounting her experiences. It's called "The Fugitive's Story," and one of the three men is Mathew's brother, John Greenleaf Whittier. So by this time, in combination with the style of writing (with which I'm so very familiar after eight years of studying Mathew's work), I knew this was he.
Suddenly, I remembered I had just recently seen this sculpture. A copy of it is kept in the room which also houses Mathew's young portrait, in the Whittier home in Amesbury. It's possible Mathew gave that copy to his brother; or, it's just as likely that the sculptor gave it to him.
But Mathew signed this piece, "M.D.W." I knew exactly what the "D." was. If you've kept up with this blog, you know, too. When Mathew was in his teens, just starting out writing for newspapers, in Boston and then in New York City, he used "D." as a pseudonym. Likely it meant "devil," because when Mathew started submitting work to the "New-England Galaxy" in Boston, he was, apparently, working as a printer's "devil" for the Galaxy's sister-paper, a daily, the "Courier." He used "D." at least a couple of times in the "Galaxy," but he signed with it on a regular basis when he moved to New York in December of 1829, and began writing for the "Constellation."
What struck me is, Mathew never, in a million years, imagined that his little personal reference from his teenage years would ever be understood by anyone else. No less that it would be revealed by his own incarnation, in year 2018.
Or did he?
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "Peekaboo," by The Free Design
from the album, "Cosmic Peekaboo"