Roughly a year ago, I think it was, I discontinued using this space as a blog, and returned to its original function, which was literally to provide updates on my reincarnation-related projects. When this website was launched, that meant my documentary, "In Another Life"; now, it means my book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words." The reason I discontinued the blog, is that no-one was purchasing the book; and because it seemed to me, based on my website stats, that the same handful of people were reading it, without having enough sincere interest to actually purchase my work. In short, I felt as though I was sharing deeply with people who had only a casual interest (if not a morbid curiosity).
Since then, the hits on this page have gone down somewhat, but not altogether, even though there was nothing new to see on it for months at a time. This suggests that aside from the core group of "morbidly curious" readers, and a few friends, there is also a certain number of new visitors to this website who stumble upon this page on a whim. This, then, would be my audience, such as it is--and we are only talking a literal handful of people each day. Still, I want to reach those people.
I think what was lacking, before, is that I was writing for the sheer joy of writing, without considering my audience. I was sort of like the fellow who plays his heart out on the street corner, regardless of who tosses a couple of nickles into his guitar case. At some point one's self-respect is worth more than the change, and one would rather starve.
So, keeping in mind that I may have a small, general audience of people who are mildly curious, and given that I love to write, I'm going to experiment with striking a balance. And I might as well start by bringing everyone/anyone up to date on what I have been doing, i.e., with this project (because I don't intend to be so intensely personal in this "reincarnation" of my blog), for the past year or so.
This book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words," has undergone constant--and I do mean constant--revision since I first published it in 2012. Rarely did a day go by that I didn't make a change, and sometimes I re-posted it as many as three times. This is absurd on the face of it, and yet, the simple explanation is that I never knew when I had found all the evidence. That, and the fact that literally almost no-one was buying it, made me feel free to keep on revising it. I didn't want to just let it sit there without re-posting it, because, what if someone did buy it, and didn't get the most recent version? So, I developed a strange habit of revising, and posting, revising and posting. I don't know how many times I announced that it was finished; and then the next day I'd add something new.
What was happening was that no-sooner did I think it was really, actually, finally done, than I would find a book or a pamphlet on Ebay; or I'd uncover a new source for Mathew Franklin Whittier's published works (in this case, period newspapers). One clue would lead to another, and widen out into a whole new vista. Or, occasionally, I would make new connections between one piece of evidence and another, or have a new flash of insight. I was pursuing two lines of inquiry: proving Mathew's authorship of disputed works and disputed pseudonyms; and proving that my previously-recorded past-life impressions were supported by the previously unseen historical record.
The reason the first line of inquiry was so complicated, is that, as it turns out, Mathew hid his prodigious output behind a whole slew of pseudonyms. He is the only 19th century author I know of to have done that, and it took a great deal of detective work to prove these claims. Finally, I was able to clinch most of them; and when I say clinch them, I mean, to a high and exacting standard of proof. For example, where Albert Pike claims to have written "Ode to the Mocking Bird," signing it "A.P.," I proved that that poem was published in 1832 (I have an original copy of it), whereas in a biographical sketch, he says that he wrote that poem "a day or two after his marriage." But he was married in 1834. So I have caught him in a bare-faced lie, and combined with other evidence, it is clear that he didn't really write that poem. Then, it is a matter of bringing the evidence to bear that the real author was Mathew's first wife, Abby Poyen, at age 16. And the cumulative evidence for that is quite strong. This is just one example of many. In another case, I proved that famous humorist Charles Farrar Browne--President Lincoln's favorite, who has also been called the first stand-up comedian--blatantly imitated one of Mathew's short-stories to get his start in the field, as a printer's apprentice. Ironically, that same story was plagiarized verbatim by known plagiarist Francis A. Durivage--so the same story, by Mathew, was both plagiarized and imitated. And well it should be--it was an excellent original story idea. Mathew could generate fresh ideas at a phenomenal rate, and there was practically a feeding frenzy of plagiarists and imitators stealing those ideas. That's the picture that has emerged after seven years of research. This, in itself, is interesting, and if I were pursuing a degree in historical literature, I could fashion one heck of a dissertation on it (that is, if somebody didn't steal my discoveries, first).
Just about all of my emotional, intuitive, visceral past-life impressions have been verified as historically plausible--often highly plausible, and on a few occasions, outright proven. There is only one I have found no evidence for (though it, too, is entirely plausible), coming at the end of Mathew's life. Perhaps evidence for that will surface in the future. It does occur to me that this case will be stronger, in the public eye, if some of my memories are verified after I'm gone. I'm not quite sure why that is, but if I find the evidence, and report it myself, somehow no matter how intrinsically strong it is, it gets dismissed along with the rest of my "claim." But if I die, and then Dr. Joe Blow finds the same evidence, that will be much more convincing to some people.
I find that people balk at the length of this e-book--slightly over 1,500 pages, now, in Microsoft Word, 12 point type. First of all, you don't have to read all of it. I think it's entertaining enough, especially if you like detective work, that you will want to. I think that skeptics will use its length as an excuse not to read it, or, not to read it carefully. If I had unlimited funds and time, I could probably make an entertaining hour-long documentary out of the case. But that would only titillate--I want to prove. And this book does prove reincarnation.
I continue to have the distinct feeling that there is a kind of psychic veil drawn over this book, so that people simply can't recognize how good it is--and how powerful it is. Perhaps this is a matter of timing. Abby (who is presently in my life as my astral spouse) seems to be telling me that it is a future generation who will find it fascinating (the thought-burst I got from her, is that "my audience is still in diapers"). Meanwhile, I know how good it is--and I have taken great pains to make it readable, given that I know full-well it is rather longish. When I get a chance, I'm going to make a copy and strip all the images out of it, to get an accurate page count sans-illustrations. Since this will never be printed, I was not under any constraints for the number of images--and being a former documentarian, I like to "show" as well as "tell." These pictures are carefully-chosen for interest and impact--most of them are far more interesting than what you might see in a textbook, for example. I found some amazing stuff. But of course this pads the book. I also have a very long appendix, because I've included 27 of Mathew's own works. If you take out the images and the appendix, I think the length shrinks about a third--but I will get an exact figure shortly, and insert it, here. (The total sans graphics is 1,130.)
Tolkien's trilogy, which has recently been republished as a single volume, is roughly 1,200 pages. Do you know anybody who refuses to read Tolkein's book because it is too long? Or to see the films, because they were three hours long? But according to what I remember reading of the history of that book, for eleven years no publisher would touch it. Well, it may or may not be grandiose of me to make that comparison--but I feel that "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words" is every bit as good, and every bit as significant a contribution.
Clearly, there is a disconnect somewhere--either with me, or my potential audience--if I sincerely feel that strongly about it, and yet hardly anyone will take any notice of it. Meanwhile, I am waiting for the first person who immerses him- or herself in my work, and really gets it...
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
P.S. If the person who recently purchased "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words" from Amazon.com will contact me, I will be happy to send him or her a revised edition.
Music opening this page: "Awaken" by Eric Johnson, from the album, "Up Close"