Hello everyone. Today I have an interview with a lady who lives in a cottage made out of caramel, I got that info from the back of her book and I’m assuming it is a typo because what is a Carmel cottage? Her book is on my gotta read list and when you see the cover you’ll want to check it out too, one of the most spectacular I’ve seen.
Please stare open mouthed at Robin Gregory.
Question 1: Give us a quick run down about The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman.
Thank you for the lovely introduction, Jason. The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman is book one of a trilogy. Moojie is introduced as an orphan whose unrestrained preternatural powers jeopardize his ability to fit in. He forms an unlikely friendship with otherworldly outcasts which threatens to shatter an already shaky connection to his adoptive family.
Whether it’s Neo in The Matrix, Harry Potter at Number Four, Privet Drive, or Cheryl Strayed’s hike from California to Washington in Wild, I think the wilderness experience is a necessary part of character transformation. Especially in visionary fiction. It takes the main character away from familiar comforts, support, and surroundings. It challenges his or her power.
In (upcoming) book two of my trilogy, Halfkin, Moojie, now an impetuous, half-alien eighteen-year-old, and his unreliable guide from Pleiades, Abu, and are on a perilous journey to find Babylonia, Moojie’s lost love.
This scene takes place after Moojie impulsively befriends a vagabond in the desert. Despite Abu’s warnings, Moojie shares a meal with the scruffy stranger, who turns around and steals the horses and rifles.
Moojie thinks they will never get to their destination on time. He also believes they won’t be able to feed themselves without hunting rifles.
Undaunted, Abu leaves the campsite and returns with a burlap sack full of small game.
“Where’d you get those?” Moojie spoke in a tone of disbelief.
“Did I not tell you? Creatures in the wild sacrifice themselves willingly to feed hungry saints,” Abu said.
Moojie scratched his nose.
Abu opened the sack and presented two dead poorwills and a gila monster, as if performing a magic trick. Ta-da! He asked, “Did you hear about the angry magician?”
Moojie cocked his head. “What?”
“He pulled out his hare.” Abu held up a dead jackrabbit.
“Very funny,” Moojie said. “Is that an original joke?”
“I didn’t think holy men had time for jokes,” Moojie said.
“Saints are stretched thin these days,” Abu said. ###
The vagabond experience causes Moojie to question his way of thinking. It challenges him to pause before acting, to listen to his intuition. It is a small step toward trusting life itself to guide him forward. A lesson for every hero.
Welcome, brave souls, to Bits & Bodhis, where you will find little astounding facts to help you to carry on during the dark night of the soul.
Shedding the shadow and awaking spiritually is not for the feint of heart. If you ever doubt it, here are religious initiations from around the world that you must
NOT TRY THIS AT HOME:
Fathers of the Crocodile tribe in New Guinea hold down their boys while loved ones slash off little pieces of their flesh….
In West Africa, initiates are known to die while undergoing a rebirthing ceremony under the influence of a psychoactive plant substance….
Tibetan monk’s were once required to sit naked on frozen lakes at the height of winter, and thaw, by their own body heat, icy, water-soaked sheets wrapped around themselves….
To purge the shadow and connect with the gods.
So, awakening is no picnic at the beach.
Even the saintly Mother Theresa wrestled with darkness for decades. There were times when she felt completely disconnected from God and suffered deep despair. And then there were periods of devastating beauty, miracles, and illumination.
The Company of Heaven is presently shaking out humanity’s bugs. Illumination is a mandate. But, let’s keep a little perspective. If purging, flagellation, and abuse speeded awakening, there never would have been a boy who grew up as Adolf Hitler.
Awakening has less to do with correcting human flaws than it does with meeting the real self. This acquaintance, painful as it is, makes us more—not less—accepting of those who are not like us.##
#VFA #healing #awakening #blacklivesmatter #tolerance #visionary #RobinGregory #diversity #SpiritualPractice
But I’m sincerely struggling with the following question:
Is it racist to include an organized crime character in a book who is defined by ethnicity or nationality?
I don’t know. These are nutty times…
On one hand, we have Jeanine Cummins, an American-born, mostly Caucasian novelist, author of American Dirt, being lambasted for daring to speak sympathetically on behalf of Mexican immigrants.
On the other hand, an esteemed colleague tells me that it is offensive to refer to a character in my upcoming book as a “Jewish mobster.”
Identity is a prevalent theme in my novels. In The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman, the main character is disabled and stutters, therefore treated as if he were unintelligent (though he’s smarter than most). Early-1900s America experienced a gout of immigrants. It was a time of unparalleled racial and ethnic intolerance. Moojie believes that belonging to a family will define him. But European immigrants mistake his striking dark features—which resemble his extraterrestrial mother’s clan—for Native American. The misidentification is further amplified as they believe the enigmatic clan is comprised of native renegades who’ve come back from the dead to reclaim sacred lands. In subtext, it’s their own guilt from having persecuted, or having allowed native persecution, that haunts them.
In my upcoming book, Halfkin, I delve deeper into Moojie’s self-image, exploring his spiritual-coming-of-age, self-mastery, and healing. He’s healed himself by now, and in a sense has outgrown his adoptive family. And the more he identifies with them, the more miserable he is. When his hapless father and meddlesome aunt try to pressure him into marriage with the daughter of a local mobster, he breaks away to find his lost love.
The father of the girl, who I gave a fictitious name, was actually lifted out of historical records of a well-known mobster of Jewish ancestry, Monk Eastman. He was a larger-than-life guy, who was abandoned as a youngster and rose to be a famous crime boss who dominated New York’s underworld in the early 1900s. To avoid stereotyping, my version of this character is likable. He dresses like a dandy, dotes over his wife and daughter, loves pigeons, and prefers to ride a bike because he’s afraid to drive.
An esteemed colleague took exception to my calling him a “Jewish mobster,” calling it a racist.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t mobsters historically affiliate with ethnicity?
Is the concept of “politically correct” getting a bit uppity?
Is rationality being sacrificed to the gods of double standard?
In “real” life, it never occurs to me to profile others by ethnicity. Humans are not their skin color, religion, nation, or even their bodies. In my heart-of-hearts, I believe we are all of the same intrinsic “cloth” that has nothing to do with ethnicity, race, or culture. Everyone deserves respect.
So, how do I write about a criminal from a group with shared, historic affiliations with a clan, gang, or organization, without mentioning ethnicity? Is it racist to identify a character as a Russian, Romanian, Italian, Irish (Protestant or Catholic), Korean, Japanese, or Jewish mobster?
Was it racist of Martin Scorsese to tell a story like Gangs of New York, through the experiences of Irish Catholic and Protestant gangsters, or was it historically accurate? What about the portrayal of Italian mafia in Goodfellas?
Are writers expected to choose politically correct over historically accurate?
I’m may be walking a thin line here, but I don’t believe literature will be of service if it avoids ethnicity or history unless it is to portray characters through rose-colored glasses.
My love goes out to all who are suffering during this crazy quarantine. Please let me know if I can help you with prayers.
While you’re grounded at home base, books and films can be your best friends. Here are some of my recommendations. Click on book images from each of the following categories: Non-Fiction, Novella, Short Stories, and Novel. The links will take you to my reviews of them. Click on film images for trailers of award-winning stories of awesome children being leaders during difficult times. (*The Whale Rider is FREE right now on tubi.)
I apologize! Due to circumstances beyond my control, the podcast with Ayn Cates Sullivan, PhD, and me has been postponed. I’ll notify you when we reschedule our chat on mysticism, miracles, healing, and other themes behind “The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman” ~ Tune into Wisdom of the Ages ~
“Only dreamers, artists and misfits enjoy an alternate reality.”
Behind the beautiful mystical cover awaits the story of a youngster named Moojie. An earthquake occurs on the night an abandoned baby is found by the nuns of San Miguel de las Gaviotas; the name Moojie is smudged across his tiny forehead. These events set in motion an extraordinary life. Magic swirls around this forsaken child as the nuns watch and worry that the imperfect infant might never find a family. But fate has its own plans for the babe and sets about bringing people into his path who can see all the possibilities that lie behind his enormous black eyes.
The road that this special young man must travel will be filled with potholes and washouts, but the pilgrimage will teach him everything he needs know so that if greatness calls, he will be ready. Impatience presses down on our uncared-for traveler, because a loving family is what he yearns for most. His quest to find where he belongs is both delightful and heartbreaking: I felt for dear Moojie, cheered his every victory and wished along with him that he would someday have his heart’s desire.
“Would anyone ever love him for his tender, kind, strange, ordinary Moojie-self?”
Robin Gregory has created a sparkling world filled with touching characters and magical folk full of spit and vinegar. This touching story stirs up those underlying human needs for belonging, acceptance and love, reminding us that love is all around if we’d only open our eyes and look.
This is a charming YA novel appropriate for the young and the young at heart. Moojie is an adorable misfit, and the ending left me with a starry smile that won’t soon dim.
“I used to be mad at life, mad at everything. And then, I woke up. It takes a long time to wake up. That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who are in a hurry.”
A book for philosophers, writers, readers, and students. “Literary Explorations: Contemporary Fiction and Poetry” is an eclectic mapping of literary trends. It is a 104-page collection of academic essays and articles assembled in a way that touches on gender, voice, multi-culturalism, and spirituality in works from the East and West. Among essays exploring the texts of Atwood, Ondaatje, and Malkani, I particularly appreciate the way he handles magical realism as it concerns “The Tailor’s Needle,” by Lakshmi Raj Sharma, and my novel, “The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman.” While the author is an academic, he never gets too highbrow. The information is presented as he discovered it—through an obvious love for literature, as well as for intensive study and scholarly research.