Sarah recently told me about a fun website called “I Write Like” (https://iwl.me/). You type in some original text and it tells you what famous author’s style it thinks your text resembles. No matter what I typed in, the site invariably told me my sentences were reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelley or Nathaniel Hawthorne. I have nothing but respect for those three and even I’m aware my choice of words can occasionally be a trifle archaically arcane, but since Edgar A. Poe has always held a special place in my heart I was always disappointed my style never matched his. Thus, as a test, I typed in a stanza and a half of “The Raven.” The site said the writing style was akin to James Joyce. “Ah!” I mumbled, “Poe must not be one of the available choices! NOW it makes sense!” Later I typed in the following and, lo and behold, it was analyzed as being in the style of Poe! Since apparently Poe himself wrote in a Joycean style, I consider my accomplishment to be a great and singular triumph of human will over computer stubbornness. Personally, I don’t see any similarity of the below to the poet’s work, but, given the circumstances, I’ll clutch at any straw. And now, the hard fought for pseudo-Poe text:
You hover silently in the shadowed edges, watching generation pass, each, before dissolving back into the darkness, momentarily illumined in its own ghostly light. Your fellow watcher, although close at hand, is a vague form in the void, being sometimes apart from and sometimes a part of the immuring gloom, like some dim star visible only from the corner of your eye. You sense his presence better than you can see him and you suspect it is better that way.
“The heart,” he suddenly whispers in your ear, “the heart alone knows its own misery, an inexpressible reality of iron sorrow. The injured body shrieks in pain: the injured soul stands mute. Do you ever wonder if all these generations are a species of idiot? Surely they cannot be unaware that every seed of hello flowers inexorably into goodbye. Yet they still spend their few allotted days chasing after chimerical happiness. And then, believing they have finally caught the great and wonderful thing and will forever hold it to their breast, their minds are opened to reality and they reel, silent, numb and shattered, at last comprehending they hold nothing but a handful of dust.”
“Lucky for the dust,” you answer peevishly. “Earthly dreams, by both their own and the dreamer’s very nature, can only be partly cherished yet always fully lost. But,” you shrug, half-smiling in spite of yourself, “perhaps that’s not the fate of their memories, of their echoes.” You pause for a moment, watching another generation’s light sputter and fade in the darkness. “Or their beloved ghosts.”
“Are you talking about the dreams or the dreamers?”
Bowing your head respectfully before turning away you mutter, more to yourself than to your nebulous companion, “Whatever offers the most comfort. Yet to them all in passing and to all their evanescent dreams, rest in peace.”