All day, today, I've been editing the novelette that I'd drafted, about my past life soul-mate relationship with Abby Poyen, when I was Mathew Franklin Whitter in the 19th century. Since I had last worked on it, I'd discovered a great deal of material writen by Mathew in his youth, beginning at age 16, even before he and Abby began courting. All of that new historical information had to be incorporated into the storyline. I completed that work, today, and only have the last 20-30 pages to edit, tomorrow, about their last few months together before she died of consumption.
First of all, I'm very pleased with the writing. There is the natural question, as to whether I can still write as I did when I was Mathew. Actually, Mathew, himself, was reticent to write serious fiction. He excelled at humorous sketches, and essays, and reviews and reports, and even poetry; but while he could critique and lampoon fiction, I think he felt tremendous reluctance to stick his neck out enough to write it. In fact, I don't know of any serious fiction he wrote, that was longer than an adventure story for a newspapers.
So in terms of Mathew's native talents, I am stretching his own abilities; or perhaps, if he did have that talent, unused, I am venturing outside his comfort zone. Then again, I think there may have been another past life in-between Mathew's and mine, also as a writer. She (yes, she) may have written fiction.
In any case, I think it's pretty good; and at times, rises to "exceptional." There are passages that are so good, they even make me want to cry, and I wrote them.
I have been debating with myself whether to post this for sale with my other five e-books, or save it for posterity. Obviously, it's very personal. It is as historically accurate as my eight years of research could make it--and the effect is to make it extremely realistic. These two characters come alive, precisely because it is probably about 95% of what really happened; and also because of the sheer depth of my understanding of their inner lives. Between what I knew factually, and what I knew intuitively, there isn't much in this book that is made up out of whole cloth. At most, I might have a few details wrong. The reason is that I have something like 1,200 of Mathew's published works--and he embedded bits and pieces of his life in most of them. I learned to decipher his "code," and therefore, I have what amounts to a very detailed diary.
This, I think, is very different from most reincarnation novels. To put it bluntly, it's what they claim to be. But the maddening thing is, I find it impossible to compete with all those claims. The public doesn't seem to be able to tell the difference. Even in the online group I recently joined--the one that is supposed to be about research--we have Margaret Mitchell, and Mary Pickford, and JFK. There are probably others I haven't noticed. At the same time, we have my own claim to be the real co-author of "A Christmas Carol," and the original author of "The Raven."
Now, Mitchell I have had some brief dealings with, and it's possible she's genuine. I just haven't seen enough evidence to form an opinion. The other two, I would guess, may not be.
But how does anyone know? Obviously, they don't, unless they want to know badly enough to seriously investigate each claim. Which, at least in my case, nobody cares enough to bother with. It is far easier to lump them all into one category or the other--either they are all real, or they are all fake. Discernment of the false from the true is a lot of trouble. It means you have to work.
And nobody works unless it means enough to them.
In terms of sheer readability, I think my novelette stacks up very well against any other reincarnation novel out there, from what I have seen over the years. I'm still a pretty good writer. Meanwhile, I know it stacks up very well, indeed, against the other claims to be genuine and accurate. I can say that, because I've done the work.
On a personal level, it is disturbing to immerse myself in this past life relationship, in story form. Even though I wrote it, it seems to take on a life of its own, somehow, and to affect me as though I was reading it for the first time. Although I could probably complete the editing phase this evening, I've stopped at the point where Abby is getting sick again, in her final illness. I don't think I want to try to finish it, and go to bed with this tragedy fresh on my mind.
In my pilot self-study, with its sample-size of one, there is one conclusion I am certain of. It won't surprise anyone in the field of past-life therapy--but emotions from a past life must be frequently, if not continually, bleeding through into the present life, for all of us. This one is certainly affecting me, as I stop reading not long before Abby's death, and the tragic death of their second child, only two weeks earlier.
Fortunately, Abby is still very much with me, in spirit. Oh, wait, that's something that you will pile in with all the other claims, as well. But I am tired of tip-toeing around other peoples' boggle threshold. At some point one just says, "To heck with what people can or can't accept, I'm just going to tell the truth." And if you don't think I respect the truth, you don't get me, at all.
If Abby concurs, I will probably add this book to the hotlinked list at the top of my home page, very soon. All six books will then be available, in Kindle, E-pub and pdf formats, through my online store. That store may look a little hokey to you--that's because I have to use their free tier presentation. I can't afford their paid tiers, because nobody buys my e-books. It's a Catch-22. The books themselves are competently done; but I won't be spending x-amount per month for an online store, unless and until book sales justifies it.
An entire day of editing a novel leaves you practically brain-dead, so I'm going to wrap this up without a clever conclusion. So far, although I have my books listed at the very beginning of my home-page presentation, no-one has clicked on the links to look at them, point-of-purchase. There is a theory I have often toyed with, which says that you can't induce people to buy anything, unless you hook them below the belt somewhere. In other words, you have to appeal to their selfish desires somehow, either overtly or covertly. If you attempt to sell something by appealing strictly and honestly to their higher nature, you can't sell a darned thing.
I'm glad I mentioned that theory. Usually I try not to think about it. I would very much like to think, in my general assessment of humanity, that it isn't true. But my experience, first as a video producer, and then as an author, seems to be telling me it is.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "Life of the Party," sung by Randy Travis
on the television show, "Matlock"