Channeling the Literary Greats
by Lesley Sudders
A fascinating story on NPR’s Morning Edition described Brazil’s booming market of books written by spirits. The books attain physical form when they are channeled through mediums. These individuals are part of a religion, or perhaps more accurately a philosophy, known as Spiritism. Adherents accept Christianity and other traditional religions, as well as reincarnation, and believe that the dead can communicate with the living.
Skeptics may scoff, but so widespread is this belief and the practice of channeling dead authors that Brazil boasts more than 220 Spiritist publishing houses.
The NPR reporter mentioned seeing five new Victor Hugo titles in a Spiritist bookstore. And here I thought he stopped writing at his death in 1885. Romances are popular, partly as a way to provide spiritual instruction by depicting realistic, relatable people grappling with troubling issues.
Wait a minute! Wouldn’t this be cool? I’ll really, really concentrate and maybe I can communicate with someone.
“Ready when you are.”
“Wait a minute. Here’s my favorite cat, Polly. She’s been dead longer than I have. Where were we?”
“Say, did you know those cats with extra toes are called Hemingway cats?”
“I heard it through the grapevine.” Launches into a bad Marvin Gaye imitation. “Marvin’s going to teach me how to write songs.”
“But now I’m ready to share with the world another true sentence, if I can get Chuck Dickens out of here. Your turn is later, Chuck,” yelling over his shoulder. “We don’t really have a now or later, but you know what I mean. Go away.”
“I love your work, Mr. Hemingway. You’ve heard others say that?”
“I met your wife, Mary, once. A nice woman.”
“Yes. She remembers you from New York and says ‘Hi.’”
“Wow. So you guys remember, like, everything. Anyway, ‘Hi’ back.”
I pause. “And I’m really glad we can talk, or whatever this is.”
“Me, too, when I’m not depressed. Unfortunately that came with me. Talking is good, although I do miss my pencils and my Royal typewriter, the one in Key West. You probably know that writing, while cerebral, has a certain tactile aspect.”
“Yes. I use a computer, of course, but have an eclectic collection of journals and notebooks and pens I like. Uh, before we go on, you should know I don’t speak Portuguese.”
“Duh! I’m not worried. Call my old publisher. They’ll publish it in the US, and get it translated and distributed in Brazil. They liked me there. Oh, this is exciting. Not like some of my other adventures, but in its own way.”
“Okay. Who will own the rights to this book? I assume your heirs. Will they compensate me?”
“You guys sort that out. The Brazilian people writing for Vic Hugo are working on this. Hey, Les, go to Brazil! Live a little! They still have bullfights there, right?”
I hate the idea of bullfighting.
Despite my flippant tone, I mean no disrespect. Spiritism is a wide, deep, and old subject, and way too large and complex to get into fully in this short post. I know something about it and have heard personal stories of people who use their gifts to help others.
On a personal level, I remain open to unfamiliar concepts. My current way of figuring out how things work, stated briefly, has to do with quantum energy and the idea that All is One.
How do ideas come to authors, or to anyone on any topic? Are we accessing what some call the Akashic record, a compendium of events, thoughts, and anything one can imagine? Are incorporeal scribes and geniuses providing inspiration and insight?
Brazil also has painters who claim to be channeling Degas, Picasso, and others. I’d love to see the books and the paintings.
Gotta go and check the travel sites. Maybe I can at least channel Hemingway’s adventurous spirit, if not his words.
Lesley Sudders has published a mystery, The Brodick Affair, writing as Les Brierfield, and is at work on her next novel and several short stories. A Colorado native, she lives in Arizona with her husband and writing collaborator Eduardo Cervino (E.C. Brierfield). Follow her blog: Les Brierfield, Author. Lesley welcomes contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.