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People routinely explore a variety of peculiar avenues, many of which are spiritual in nature, in the pursuit of purpose and meaning in their lives. One should therefore not be taken completely by surprise that Poppy Hortie too opted to invite spirits inside himself in his goal of becoming a better husband and father. The remarkable thing about Poppy Hortie was his questionable choice of guiding spirits. He first entertained a spirit of violence in the form of “Earth Traveler Sun”, a Chinese dwarf who lived during the transition from the Shang to Zhou dynasties circa 1100 B.C. When that arrangement failed to yield the desired fruit,
Poppy Hortie invited inside a spirit of apathy, “The Unmothered Son”, the echo of a child who witnessed the massacre of his family in a genocidal act of tribal retribution and who was damaged beyond all repair. Finally, Poppy Hortie encountered the spirit of improvisation, “the ghost of Charlie Ankleyard”, the grandfather of non-idiomatic improvisational music. It was through a culmination of his interactions with each spirit that Poppy Hortie
came to a better understanding of his role in the world. These were cases of reverse possession because the man intentionally trapped the spirits within himself. This book is called a sutra because we allow the possibility that some worthwhile message might be gleaned from the reading of it.