Writing these entries every couple of days has become my relaxation. I'm archiving Mathew's 1834/35 work for a New York penny paper, in the mornings, getting up around 4:30 a.m., so I write most of these entries in the evening, after my caretaking duties. Usually some topic presents itself to me, which I then develop as a theme; but what I really want to do is to sit back with the empty template in front of me, and relax a bit. Then, just muse...
The problem always is, who am I musing to? Because if they took me seriously, they would have to act, and by act, I mean, buy my book, study it, write about it, talk about it, invite me on radio shows, and so-on. I'm not being grandiose about being invited on radio shows, because when I was promoting my documentary, "In Another Life," I was on quite a few of them--starting with Shirley Maclaine's. Most of the shows were pretty small, but some of them had a fairly large audience. They're archived on this website (you have to scroll down the home page to find the link--the icon is a radio tower).
Last entry I indicated that Mathew Franklin Whittier and his wife, Abby, had written the original of "A Christmas Carol." Obviously, if anyone took me seriously, this would be worth contacting me about. It should be big news in literary circles, and history circles. The only interpretation I can make, is that relatively few people read this blog; those who do, don't turn any of their friends or colleagues on to it; and none of these people take me seriously for half-a-half-a-second. I say it that way, because I think this is really the subjective experience people have. If you even entertained the idea for a fraction of a second...but, nobody does. Not for a 100th of a second. That's how powerful preconceptions are.
No problem. I couldn't do this, day after day, year after year, if I was dependent on recognition. I can point to a hundred cases, in which a person was doing good work, and was entirely marginalized and shunned in that work, and it destroyed them. They became withdrawn, and bitter, and perhaps even killed themselves. I am thinking of an example right now, whom I won't identify. This is a musician who headed up a band in the city where I used to reside. Her music had a very high vibe; but most people can't perceive such a vibration. It is like a sound frequency too high for human ears. It literally didn't exist, meaning, what I could perceive in it, for most people. Therefore, her music never became especially popular, even though no-doubt she knew what she was expressing through it, and that it was worthy of accolades and acclaim. And in the higher astral planes, it probably would be, and will be again. But not here. Not in this dense sphere. So the last I looked, she is occasionally posting new compositions on Facebook, and they are uniformly sad. I don't know, but I got that "I'm middle aged and I'm a failure" vibe from her page, and let it go.
I'm not going there. I do my best and leave the results to God, as I learned to do from the Bhagavad Gita when I first started studying spiritual teachings, just out of high school.
Today, I purchased six physical copies of editions from the paper that Mathew Franklin Whittier contributed to in 1834. These are not only his Police Office reports, as I've alluded to in recent entries, but also his short stories, faux letters to the editor, and such. In these, he is experimenting with things he will bring to full fruition in later years.
There is absolutely no question that this is his writing, at age 22/23. He's already brilliant. I don't know whether I could write at that level, today. Sometimes I can hit it, I think, but not as consistently as he did. So, anyway (I'm just writing stream-of-consciousness for relaxation), I hope that someday these six copies will be kept in the museum I envision, built to house Mathew's legacy. Perhaps at least one of them will be on display under a glass case; but I think there will be a way to zoom in on it, a magnifying glass (physical or electronic), so people can examine it in more detail. I would love to see that museum. I wonder if I will live long enough, and will actually be able to walk in (or be wheeled in)? I have an idea of what it might look like.
What is needed, when one is so drastically ahead of one's time that almost no-one takes you seriously, is to stay on a steady keel. You have to take the middle road. You believe in yourself with full self-confidence; but you don't go overboard in reaction against the shunning and marginalizing. You don't define yourself against those who shun you. You define yourself as who you know you are.
Mathew was not the best writer the world has ever seen. As a humorist, he would compare favorably with some of the world's best, in recent times. As a philosopher and commentator, I would say he was very strong, when he buckled down and got serious. As a poet, well, he reached heights comparable, say, with some of what I've seen from the likes of Wordsworth and Longfellow. His poetry wasn't at all like his brother's. John Greenleaf Whittier had the gift of weaving a spell with words; of throwing fairy dust on a subject, and mesmerizing one with his lines. Mathew was blunt and powerful and straightforward. John Greenleaf tried to be deep, but wasn't; Mathew was. At times, he could hit a level of inspiration. I would say his friend, John Townsend Trowbridge--whose literary bread and butter was boys' adventure stories--was even better.
But there was something about Mathew's writing--he was earnest, sincere, almost boyish in his enthusiasm. Had he not been crippled by grief for Abby, it's hard to say what he could have done, or what they could have accomplished, together. If they created "A Christmas Carol" in their early 20's, what could they have done in their mature years?
Today--again, just musing and sharing as it comes to me--I played piano from one of the old books that Abby used to play to Mathew from. I'm certain of it, but will not try to defend myself in these assertions, this evening. Too tired. So, one of these songs is entitled "I Would Not Live Alway." This version--the one in the book of sheet music--is not quite like any I have found elsewhere. It has a phrase rather reminiscent of a phrase in Brahm's Lullaby. Now, Brahm's Lullaby has always affected me very deeply. Since childhood, it evoked a feeling of desperate, aching, hopeless, bottomless adult grief. When I was about a year and a half old, my parents bought me a panda bear (i.e., a panda teddy bear), which had a music box that played Brahm's Lullaby. But since I would cry every time it played, they finally cut the box out and sewed it back up.
But I remember that. Again, at age 1-1/2, I remember unbearable, intense, adult grief.
Well, this song, "I Would Not Live Alway," appears to have been one of Abby's personal favorites. She would play it, and I would kind of cluck over it, or mildly disapprove, because it smacked of Victorian death-embracing. But I never dreamed the day would come when she wasn't with me.
When that day came, somebody played this song. Every single time I try to play it, today, the exact same emotional past-life memory comes to me, so strongly that I can barely continue. I mostly avoid it, but for some reason I opted for self-torture, this afternoon. Yep. Exactly the same. It never diminishes. I am in a church, or in a hall--whether at Abby's funeral, or a church service, or someone else's funeral service, I don't know. I just feel it is a surprise, and a shock, unexpected; and they are playing this song, and it is unbearable. That's all. Very typically, with a past-life memory glimpse, driven by the strongest of emotions, I just get a tiny glimpse which never changes. As though a flash bulb has gone off, and I only see whatever I was looking at for that fraction of a second that the light flashed.
So whether there are a thousand arguments pro and con, for past-life memory or against it, the whole thing is a moot point, to me. I could get up from this laptop keyboard, walk two feet behind me and to my right, turn on the electric piano, turn to the page, and play that song--and I would have the exact same past-life memory. I can't seem to water it down, at all, so mostly, I just avoid it.
I was thinking the other day, and not for the first time, that as a "case," I am really going to waste. I could be experimented on, with this known match. I can think of dozens of experiments. I am like the fellow whose stomach was an open flap. They would take him around, and demonstrate how food digests, by tying a steak on a piece of string, and lowering it into the stomach (as I vaguely recall, from my school days). I wonder if that was during Mathew's time; and I wonder whether that's not why I especially made a mental note of it. Let me see if I can find it online...
That was pretty quick--Alexis Bidagan St. Martin, who was experimented on from the time his wound healed, in 1822, until 1833. The end of this period coincides roughly with the period I have been studying, during which Mathew reported for the New York "Transcript," i.e., 1834/35.
Anyway, I am like St. Martin. Researchers could study the way past-life memory operates, by studying my reactions to new information on Mathew. This can be done from my written account--and someday, I think researchers will be glad I was so specific and so thorough. But more could be done by studying me live. By the time they figure this out, and take me seriously, I will probably be gone from the scene.
No matter. I think there will be plenty of other cases--though perhaps cases which lend themselves so well to research, won't come around very often.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "Evinrude Fever," by Eric Johnson, from the album, "Europe Live"