|The Monthly Aspectarian: Monty, there’s been a spate of metaphysical novels coming out lately, but NAKED INTO THE NIGHT has been my favorite.
Monty Joynes: Well, I’m grateful for that. Thank you.
TMA: I read it at a time when I really needed it…and I’m highly recommending it to all of our readers.
MJ: I’ve gotten some letters, and curiously, women read the book and find it important and useful to them. Then they beg their husbands to read it. I’ve had some testimonial letters from the husbands who have said that the book was important to them and that they had come onto the book by their wives.
TMA: Now I don’t imagine that you, at any point, went naked into the night yourself?
MJ: No, but it was a fantasy. I’m a man with three children, you know; it was a fantasy. Not only how could it be pulled off…when Winn Conover could have been arrested by the first police car that happened down the boulevard.
TMA: He was lucky to have left on garbage night.
MJ: Well, those are the contrivances of a novelist. We wouldn’t have a book, would we, if he didn’t find clothing somewhere and avoid the law! The serious question was, and the thing that I really wanted to explore (and my books are self-discovery for me as much as they hopefully are discovery for the readers) what I really wanted to explore is, could a man raised in Western culture and who had had material success with all that that does to the ego, could such a man remake himself as a human being and get into touch with spiritual reality? Was it possible that he could overcome all the prejudice and all the conditioning and make himself into a new person who could practice a righteous kind of behavior? I think that’s a real question for everybody who has a serious mind.
TMA: He pulls it off admirably.
MJ: It’s a constant struggle…I hate to use the word “struggle,” but that’s what it is. It’s a constant state of mind to be observing your own mind…so that you can quiet that mind, and so that your behavior actually comes out of the silence of the mind and not its chatter. For him, you see that struggle in his lamentations in the subsequent book, LOST IN LAS VEGAS, where he completely blows it, and his mind takes over again, and he reverts to that driving character who wants to solve problems by his intellect and the power of his persuasion when he tries to talk White Wing into coming back to his tribe as a spiritual prodigy, and then he laments that. That is really a breakdown, a loss of the state of grace that he had achieved in the quiet mind.
I’ve told some people, “You can’t go to a seminar, no matter how powerful it is, and become a spiritual person or find an instant enlightenment. That lasts hardly through the week or through the month.” The commitment to living a righteous life and to finding truth in life and in nature is in living every moment with that intention.
TMA: That realization of the self beyond or above the mind is no small accomplishment.
MJ: A teacher asked me, “Who were you before you had thoughts about yourself? Was there anything there? Was there a being there? Was there an identity there? Prior to thought, was there something there?” I think you have to say, given logic, yes, there was something there. There was something there in the womb, there was something there prior to conditioning. Well, what was that?
TMA: When you have silence in the mind, who hears the bird sing? Or the wind in the trees?
MJ: And who knows that there’s silence in the mind? Sometimes there seems to be three or more of us. It’s the person doing the seeing, what he is seeing, and who is seeing him see. And that’s the paradox of life itself when you want to explore the inner life, the inner human being.
TMA: The first book in the series is NAKED INTO THE NIGHT, and then there’s LOST IN LAS VEGAS. Are you going to continue from there?
MJ: Yes, there’s a third book that’s already been accepted by the publisher. He’s intending to publish that in April of ’99. It’s called SAVE THE GOOD SEED, and it involves the adoption of a Pueblo Indian infant who was raised in the white world and in middle age wants to come back to the reservation to find out who he is as a human being, as a Native American.
I’m now at work on a fourth book called DEAD WATER RITES, and this is an explanation of the metaphysical nature of water. It involves all of the same characters. We begin to explore a triad cultural situation in a very unique environment in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico. The protagonist, Anglo, finds this culture, this mixed Hispanic culture that’s been there almost 400 years, the Spanish land grant people who are mixed with the Indians…and then there are counter-cultural types who are accused of being leftover Hippies and Granolas but are serious people who come to choose that way of land-based life. They are trying to survive and preserve their culture against the geocultural global economy. The question in that book is, can these kinds of cultures survive in the race to materialism that the world seems to be running to? Can spiritual values survive?
TMA: Some would say that if we don’t stop global warming, they may be the only cultures to survive.
MJ: True. When I meet these people on their own ground, I’m just excited all over again. Encountering the Indians and going through the Indian history was devastating emotionally. The history I was taught in American universities is not the truth about what our government has done. I think there’s a great need for healing in our country. I have discovered another whole layer of wonderment out there in the West in the Hispanic culture. How these cultures interface has a unique place in the United States and is a very good place to see the microcosm of the world and cultures at large.
I have made some wonderful plans out in New Mexico and I would like to go back and spend at least a month every year re-exploring and being reintroduced. There are thousands of stories out there.