Friday, August 1, 2014
The Reincarnation of Edgar Allan Poe
I took a Facebook personality quiz the other day and found out something interesting: I was Edgar Allan Poe in a previous lifetime! My biggest quandary at this point is I've seen several of my friends who were also Poe. I say it's a quandary, but it's probably just a glitch, because it's more likely I'm Poe than any of them. The other choices were Mozart, Darwin, Lincoln, and Jimmy Durante.
According to the quiz, I'm Poe because I tend to be moody, solitary, inner-directed, and decisive. It definitely puts a good spin on my personality; I haven't been much at parties, but now I'll be able to say I'm a famous dead author, a great icebreaker.
One big problem for me in judging all this is I don't know that much about Poe. I do have "my" complete works on the shelf, so that's a start. I've looked through them a few times, then wonder why; they don't look that interesting. Now I know why, because I wrote it all! However, of all the stories in the world "The Tell-Tale Heart" was my favorite story as a kid. I read it in school maybe five, six times. The other stuff, not so much.
I remember one Halloween, they gave us a great treat. We went to a dark room at school and watched "The Raven" from a 16mm projector. That was great fun. The color was really good, and you get a good vibe when you actually hear the projector clacking away. Whatever scary parts there were, kids were making scary noises and laughing, all great fun.
I never actually read "The Raven," though, till I was an adult. So I wasn't familiar with one of my greatest poems till way past childhood. Depriving myself, obviously, since it truly is very creepy. And because they mention it on Jeopardy about 10 times a month, always on the Teen Tournament.
A couple years ago I read a book that tied me in somehow with a murder in New York. My memory never being that good, I can't remember what it was all about. A young woman had gone to an abortion provider, who was another woman in a house, then crossed over the river, and was found dead in New Jersey. Somehow I, Edgar Allan Poe, was connected with that. I wrote a story based on it, changing the names. It's in my Collected Works.
One of the things I'm very proud of is that the Beatles mentioned me in one of their songs, "I Am the Walrus," and that I'm pictured on the Sgt. Pepper album, my big blockhead and huge forehead making me stand out in quite a stark, wonderful way.
Now that I'm back -- or now that I realize I'm me -- it might be worth a little effort to see if I can get some back royalties. I know what everyone's objection will be, the supposed fact that since I'm dead all these years the works have passed into the public domain. Except -- my retort is obvious -- how does that apply if I'm manifestly not dead? Gotcha there. The quiz doesn't lie, and now that I think of it I'm getting back some of memories. A couple biographies from the library and I'll be my old self again.
I'll start with Wikipedia. I was born about a month before Abraham Lincoln, coincidentally one of my current Facebook friends who took the quiz. I died at the ancient age of 40. I'm best known for my tales of mystery and the macabre. I had a financially difficult life and career.
I attended the University of Virginia for one semester, failing all my classes except Creative Writing, in which I excelled. In 1835, I married my 13-year-old cousin. Our first son is presently reincarnated as Jerry Lee Lewis. I died in Baltimore, the cause of my death being variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents. Obviously I had a hard time avoiding trouble, including the difficulty of getting life insurance.
Please, everyone, help make my life and career better in this present incarnation. Read the Grandma Slump blog faithfully -- I haven't lost my great talent. Send money. And any advice you may have on how to stay well. For any illness or condition, since I've had them all. Whatever goes around, I catch, so I need your help. Just pray it's not Ebola.