This morning, the task I set out for myself was to carefully skim through the introductory chapters of the doctoral dissertation I obtained through interlibrary loan, on an obscure NY editor named Asa Greene. I had already read carefully the chapter dealing with his editorship of an 1834/35 penny newspaper called the New York "Transcript"; now, really-speaking, I was just going through his earlier life to see whether he could possibly have had any contact with my past-life family, the Whittiers. I was pretty sure that Mathew--myself in that lifetime--had been the chief reporter for the Police Office reports for the "Transcript," despite their being attributed to another reporter; and despite there being no mention at all of Mathew in the dissertation.
Keep in mind that the author of the dissertation was studying Asa Greene. Therefore, even though he was puzzled by certain things that didn't add up, he persisted in tentatively assigning unattributed works to Dr. Greene. In particular, at times it seemed that Dr. Greene was really a mediocre humorist; then, suddenly, he would become brilliant. Same, actually, with the other reporter, William H. Attree.
But there was a sort of "black hole" in the historical record, i.e., Mathew Franklin Whittier had either never been put there; or, he had been taken out. So all of his work was getting "apportioned" between these two other men. And they were nowhere near as gifted as Mathew was.
So, long story short, it appears that Mathew actually began submitting to one of Greene's earlier papers in mid-1831. I am sending in my researcher soon; so far, I have only been able to look closely at the excerpts found in the dissertation, and two reprinted sketches I found online in another newspaper. I'll bet dollars-to-doughnuts that's Mathew, though. I know his style, both intuitively, from past-life memory, and also from studying literally hundreds of his works over the past eight years. As said last entry, I have everything digitized, so I can tell you with a quick digital search, precisely how many times Mathew used any particular colloquial phrase, or misspelling. And he had his pet expressions--things that not everybody used.
This is a dicey period to study, emotionally. Before, when I was studying his work in the "Transcript," I was in a period when he was separated from his beloved Abby--who at that time was in her late teens--but they were being strictly faithful to one another. Now, however, when I get back into 1831, Abby is 15 years old. She has, as I believe, been tutoring Mathew, and I think she is profoundly in love with him, but he doesn't get it--not yet. He will, in a couple of years; but for now, he just assumes they are friends. I found a couple of Abby's poems which I'd never seen before; they suggest--if I am interpreting them correctly--how difficult this was for her. I, meanwhile, am not really playing the field, per se, but I'm acting like a typical bachelor, and it's painful to see. Finding more of these pieces may not be an emotional picnic for me. I made it hard on her, but I was too stupid to realize it. My philosophy, then, I think, was, "If, logically, you shouldn't be bothered by this, then it's not my responsibility."
When I've been treated that way, in this life, I didn't like it very much. People have their phobias and their tender spots. If you walk on people's sore toes because they shouldn't be sore in the first place, you're being inconsiderate.
But still, I want to try to glean all of Mathew Franklin Whittier's works that I can, and these are some of the earliest. Because he embedded so much autobiography into his works, I will probably learn something more about him, at this age. Mathew had a very odd way of writing humorous fiction. He would take a real situation--typically, something he was actually going through, or had gone through--and then he would distort it and obfuscate it, so that he, himself, was unrecognizable. He would take certain identifying details in the story, and make them opposite. He would exaggerate. He would change the setting; and all the names would be fanciful. But the actual story, if you could decipher it, was real--and sometimes, it was in deadly earnest. He made a game of taking a truly serious situation, and making comedy out of it, so that it existed on two distinct levels.
This is how I have been able to learn so much about Mathew, through his written works--and why nobody else has guessed it. I can feel the back-story in these stories, when nobody else picks upon on it. I'm almost always right, at least as regards my gut feeling. I may not get all the details right.
Tomorrow, I'm going to read through all of the chapter about the "Transcript," which I've scanned. Then I have to scan the chapter about the earlier paper, the "Constellation." Then, I wait. I was able to purchase a few copies of the Constellation--I don't know whether these contain any of Mathew's work, or not. But probably, I will be able to special-order some of those once my researcher has gone through them at the historial library, and I know what to ask for. Once she sends back her photographic copies of the pages she thinks may have Mathew's work, I will have my work cut out for me, again. Now, my intention is to add as little as I possibly can to my book--but, again, these stories tend to hold so much autobiography, some of it quite serious and deeply personal, that I almost always am forced to add quite a bit to my already burgeoning book.
Well, I am not holding a gun to anybody's head to read all of it. If you read a 10th of it, you would certainly get your money's worth; and I'm guessing you would keep on coming back to it.
This dissertation fascinates me, meaning, the existence of the thing, itself. It's beautifully written, meticulously prepared and typed. I was a typist--I know how good someone must have been to type this in 1953. But the author was very seriously mistaken in his theories. This was written for a doctorate in philosophy--and presumably it was supervised, and approved by a committee. But it is way, way off. I, with a master's in counseling and human systems, am destroying his work. I mean, not with that intention, of course, but all of the best work which he attributes to his subject, Asa Greene--including, apparently, some of his books--were actually written by Mathew Franklin Whittier, who isn't even mentioned in the dissertation. He couldn't have blown it worse.
It's just poignant...as I pointed out last time, this is what my reincarnation findings would do to hundreds of thousands of dissertations, textbooks and various famous works around the world. Well, not just my findings, of course. But the evidence for reincarnation, including my findings. It would be a real boon, I think, for the publishing industry, because all the books would have to be re-written. And the ink industry, just think of that! And then Fed-Ex and UPS would get a boost, because all those books would have to be transported to the various institutions...what a boon it would be to the economy!
Never mind. All in due time.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "Won't Get Fooled Again," The Who, from the album, "Who's Next"