I don't necessarily feel like writing an Update this afternoon, but I've really reached a milestone. My entire project, relating to my 19th-century past life as Mathew Franklin Whittier, is done. Of course, something could show up for sale on Ebay; or I could stumble upon some reference or other and realize I made an error. But the entire thing, including five e-books and all the archiving, is finally finished. I just completed my novelette, about Mathew's romance with his soul-mate Abby, this morning. One copy has already sold. We will see if this signals a trend!
Now, of course, I'm kicking around and don't know what to do with myself. Fortunately, the city I moved to in order to complete my on-site research, Portland, Maine, is a very nice place to live. One can never go back, but as a newcomer, I like it very much. Can you believe there is a place in the world where it is normal, and socially expected, to be thoughtful? I would never have believed it, until I saw it for myself.
People vie to let you in, in traffic. I kid you not. Of course there are always the occasional folks who blast and bluster their way through life, but they are a small minority, here.
I was thinking, today, that perhaps people who want to get away from the thoughtlessness of the rest of the world, decide that it's worth it to brave the winters. I also think it's kind of like Portland, Oregon, where the natives go out of their way to make everybody else think it rains miserably all the time--just to discourage people from overpopulating the place. The winters aren't so bad--I arrived here on Feb. 10th of this year, and experienced enough of it to know what I'm in for. You adjust, and everybody's brother has a snow plow attached to his pickup.
Now, enough of the small talk. What have I accomplished? I've provided careful, strictly honest, rigorous evidence for reincarnation, and demonstrated a new method of investigating it. I've also uncovered an extraordinary literary figure who hid himself behind dozens of pseudonyms, and whose career ran from 1829, when he was only 16 years old, until his death at age 70, in 1883. Actually, one of his pieces was published by a co-worker a year and a half after his death, and signed with the co-worker's name. I don't know how you count that. But this mysterious figure, among his other achievements, co-wrote the original treatment of "A Christmas Carol" with his first wife and true love, Abby Poyen; and after her death, he was the original author of "The Raven," before it was stolen and claimed by Edgar Allan Poe.
Now, I have seen any number of people with reincarnation claims that push people beyond their "boggle threshold." But I guarantee you, they don't have real evidence for it. They have what they think is evidence. Bless their hearts, you don't want to dash their fond imaginings in online groups, or in e-mail correspondence. But generally-speaking, they have a series of coincidences, like being born on the same day, or going to the same college; and they look similar. That's fine, but it's not enough, and it's not what I was able to find. One can't help but admire their enthusiasm and conviction; but it is an endless source of annoyance to me, that I am automatically and unthinkingly cast into the same category with them, by people who won't be bothered to see what I have actually done that's different.
I don't mean that I would really like to have been the past-life author of these works. I mean it is the logical conclusion, once all the facts are in.*
Well, if I was a past-life writer at this level of genius, can I do it again, in this lifetime? Can I demonstrate that level of skill, not having taken any creative writing classes?
Past-life skills don't always manifest fully in each subsequent lifetime. In the 1600's, or early 1700's, it seems from several clues that I was an organist, with full mastery of the instrument. I have learned to play keyboard to some extent, in this lifetime, but my former talent is largely blocked.
However, if Mathew Franklin Whittier's writing talent is blocked in my current lifetime, it isn't blocked very much. I may not be quite as blazingly creative as he was, but I can rise to the occasion. And I have just demonstrated it, by writing that novel about Mathew and Abby's relationship.
I have the persistent feeling that Mathew was never able to write the master-work that he felt was in him. He was afraid to do it, lest he fail, for one thing; and he always had to make a living, at which he was often hard-pressed. Much of his life he had to write shorter pieces for the newspapers--sometimes, as many as four per week, under different pseudonyms--to supplement his income. Later in life, having been largely ignored, and not being taken seriously by the literati in Boston, I think he became too dispirited (or too "spirited") to attempt it. I could be wrong. There may be something else I've missed, a longer work. If I was to look for it, I'd look in Europe. But God only knows how he signed it.
What he always wanted to write, I feel, is what I just completed, today--the most important story of his life, his romance with Abby. He embedded bits and pieces of it, heavily disguised, throughout hundreds of his shorter pieces. Once I learned how to decipher those references, I had all the elements I needed, all the material. I just had to put it together into a narrative.
This provides the opportunity to judge my writing skill, today. Given that skill level, could I, plausibly, have written two world classics in the 19th century?
It means that you have an objective basis for judging the plausibility of my claim, based on the carry-over of past-life skills. Admittedly, to some extent this is subjective, and beauty, including literary beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. On the other hand, a great deal of perceived literary quality has to do, not so much with personal taste, but with receptivity. If you are dead-set against something when you start out, you aren't going to like it. This, we know.
I only know that, as MFW reincarnated, I feel pleased and satisfied that I did this most important of topics justice. A few passages in it are so intensely beautiful, to me, that they almost make me cry--even though I know what's coming, and I wrote it myself. Like parts of a song that choke you up when you come to them, no matter how many times you play it. These passages seem to be inspired; perhaps Abby helped me, or, perhaps I was able, for those few seconds as I was writing them, to dip into the well of raw creativity which flowed so freely for Mathew.
All of my books are now listed at the beginning of the text on my home page, along with links for purchase. All but one can be purchased through Amazon, though they take a hefty cut, and I would prefer that people buy from my online store.
Will the "freeze" of so many years, when I hardly sold a single copy for months, finally thaw? Or will the public's stoney silence continue? All I know is that the project is complete.
There is a more recent past life, in the 1920's/30's, that I'm half-heartedly poking into. I have one clue--I recognized a social activitist whom I probably wrote reports on, in San Francisco, around 1930. I'm going to read a biography of this person, see if anything rings a bell, and then possibly start going through the San Francisco newspapers of that era, looking for likely by-lines. But I'm not really very enthusiastic about it. I think there will be a next stage in my life, and I don't know that it will center around this early 20th-century lifetime.
Funny, one of my options, when my Mom passed on in January of this year, was to apply to live in a subsidized retirement community in Denver, Colorado. At 64, I didn't feel my life was over yet--in fact, I felt it might be just beginning. So instead, I moved to Portland, Maine, where I had lived in the 19th century for a little over 20 years, and found work in eldercare, assisting people in nursing homes. Ironic...
I may just enjoy my semi-retirement in Portland, which is a lovely place to be. But I have been feeling Abby tell me, "In a year, you will hardly recognize yourself, because of your changed circumstances"; and several times, when I have driven past the airport here, I have had the feeling, "Someday, you are going to use that place frequently."
Imagination? I really don't know. I just don't feel used up, yet. I feel that I still have something to contribute, and that in any case I won't be allowed to "vacation" like this for very long. Always, there is the next assignment. If you are reading this 10 or 20 or 50 years from now, you have the advantage over me--you can just skip ahead and see what happens!
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*Stars or not, these people were scam artists who managed to get to the top dishonestly, on the strength of stolen works and personal charm. No matter that they fooled entire generations, up to the present day--they weren't the original authors. Actually, it isn't uncommon for people to gain fame dishonestly. In fact, it's depressingly common. I've identified some 12 authors who stole Mathew's work, and two who stole Abby's, when she was a child prodigy of 14. The irony about Dickens is, that people feel loyal to him and thus refuse to question him, precisely because they associate the beloved story, "A Christmas Carol" with him. It's a Catch-22. It would be like rejecting your real mother, out of loyalty to the woman who kidnapped you when you were a child. To those people, I say: "Wake up! Look into the character of the man, and then understand the spirituality and insights embedded in 'A Christmas Carol.' If you do, you will see that he couldn't possibly have originated it." As for Poe, do you really think that a horror writer could have written "The Raven," which is not a horror poem? It's a grief poem, and Poe wasn't even grieving at the time.
Music opening this page: "Don't Cry Baby," by the Free Design,
from the album, "Sing for Very Important People"