Comparables to Trailing Sky’s Story
There are many excellent books that overlap with the genre I am writing about. I researched comparable books to illustrate where my book goes beyond what already exists. There are two competitive advantages I bring to the table that are not found in the many excellent comparable books to Trailing Sky Six Feathers.
Firstly, I wrote the definitive paper on Reflexive Anthropology in the 1990’s. It was published in The Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology in 1996 and it became a template for the emerging New Anthropology. Trailing Sky Six Feathers rests in the domain I outlined for Reflexive Anthropology. In re-assessing the science of anthropology, I established a requirement for scholars to have the capacity of being self-reflexive and self-aware in order to communicate across cultural and personal boundaries. This enables the writer to arrive at a sense of “interiority,” an aspect of global existence unhampered by conditioning. This produces a different kind of text, as it taps into a different dimension of understanding. I am bringing in a modern and accepted scientific template as the foundation of this memoir, which makes the book attractive to universities as well as to the general reading public.
1996 Reflexive Anthropology. The Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology:
(Editors) D. Levinson, M. Ember. H.R.A.F. N.Y.: Henry Holt & Company
Secondly, I am not a fictional character. The adventure in Trailing Sky Six Feathers – through time and space – is distinctly my own lived lives. I am fortunate to have such deep experience, professionally and personally. This makes what I write about spiritual transformation very appealing to a public that is waiting for this kind of message from an authentic voice of actual experience.
The main comparable books are the bestsellers written by James Redfield:
The Celestine Prophecy published by Warner Books, 1993.
The Tenth Insight published by Warner Books, 1996.
The Twelfth Insight published by Grand Central Publishing, 2011
Redfield’s books certainly captured the spiritual moment in the 1990’s with memories of past experiences and centuries. He drew inspiration from Gauguin’s masterpiece “Who Are We? Where Are We Going? Where Did We Come From?” In the rain forests of Peru an ancient manuscript has been discovered. Within its pages are nine key insights into life itself – insights each human being is predicted to grasp sequentially, one insight then another, as we move toward a completely spiritual culture on Earth. This book captured the spiritual moment inspired by three decades of interest in modern physics, ecology, mystical religion and interpersonal psychology finally synthesizing into a new spiritual “common sense.” Are we now beginning to live this new common sense? Can it become the dominant paradigm of the next century?
Redfield’s books offered a resounding “YES” to these questions. The vehicle to carry his wonderful story was a series of exciting fictional characters. The difference with my book is that Trailing Sky Six Feathers catches the spiritual moment for the 21st century with an actual real live account of arriving at spiritual common sense. His Celestine Insights – see www.celestinevision.com – are incorporated in my nine chapters, but embedded within a rich mosaic of personal understanding and experience. For instance, his Twelfth Insight corresponds to the Eighth Fire Training I had with Grandfather William Commanda. In this book I write about the responsibility of getting on with it NOW, as the result of my transformations across centuries.
Trailing Sky Six Feathers begins with Part One: The Muse, moves on to Part Two: The Man and concludes with Part Three: The Unity. This adventure in transformation is based on real life experience – suffering, fear, violence, abuse, transformation, wisdom, freedom and spiritual stewardship of the planet.
Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk, McClelland & Stewart, 2009
This book is an intriguing chess game with huge emotional wallops. The author is brilliant with the levels, shadows and tensions from the 15th and 21st centuries, as he links Christopher Columbus with a 21st century mental patient. The reader is drawn in by a gifted story teller into the possibilities of transference across centuries. It blends the history of Columbus with an enigmatic post-modern mystery in a mental institution. Trofimuk’s check mate is the final revelation that Columbus exists only in a mind traumatized by a car accident, disordered by knowledge of the historic events surrounding Christopher Columbus. This mad romp of an excellent novel is certainly exciting.
Trofimuk offers fictional present day characters looking for answers hidden in the past but does not deliver a connection between time frames or with real living characters the way I’m able to do with Trailing Sky Six Feathers. This is what makes my book unique from Waiting for Columbus.
Through Dark Spruce by Joseph Boyden, Viking Canada, 2008
Boyden’s narratives in this book carry the theme of “dreaming” the past through generations of Cree Indians in the Canadian Arctic. A legendary Cree bush pilot, lying in a coma, communes with his niece Annie to piece together their ancestry through their different and disastrous journeys. The book depicts a depravity of drugs and violence that reflects Canadian guilt. The story ends in a melodrama and unravels. It is a tired account of native derailment with little hope, despite the appeal of familial strength at the end that does not ring true to this reader. Boyden’s descriptive prose about the bush and wilderness is the saving grace and this is where this book echoes strongly with my descriptive passages about nature in Trailing Sky Six Feathers. Boyden won the 2008 Giller Prize – so perhaps Canadian guilt was assuaged!
I write differently about aboriginal lore, showing how it sparked something in me that is applied to the betterment of humanity as a whole. The renewal of the Indian village in the 18th century in my book, led to the renewal of me in the 21st century. The narrative I provide is uplifting – not dismal.
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, Harper Collins, 2007
Lawrence Hill’s exceptional work: “The Book Of Negroes” was retitled to Someone Knows My Name for US circulation. He provides a masterful and sweeping story of historical fiction, from tribal West Africa to US plantations, escape to Canada in the US civil war only to discover a different oppression. Told through the eyes of Aminata Diallo – we are introduced to one of the most powerful women in recent Canadian literature – someone who is larger than life and lingers long in the mind after the book is put down. She sweeps through adversity and cuts a path through a world that is hostile to her color and her sex. Years later she returns by boat to Sierra Leone to serve her people with the establishment of Freetown. Even in old age she strikes the reader as a formidable figure. Her place in literature is timeless and strong.
When the reader of my book encounters Trailing Sky Six Feathers – the Muse from four centuries back – they will encounter an equally powerful, relentless woman. She transforms my life in reality – not in historical fiction. Lawrence Hill’s book is superbly written and impressive in reach, stunning and inspiring. Trailing Sky Six Feathers joins that rare company of strong female figures in modern writing.
Mutant Message Down Under – Marlo Morgan 1991
Morgan’s account of venturing into the Australian Outback and going on a walkabout with a small aboriginal tribe is an intriguing spiritual journey. It draws the reader in, as one discovers how transforming the experience is for the author. The gentle, mystic aboriginals share cosmology and an intimate knowledge of the environment with her, which leads to a change in values of all she holds to be important.
The message is to become better human beings, in touch with spirit and the land, and the presence of a higher power. The aboriginals communicated by telepathy, heal with energy and transform the author. Morgan faces many challenges to her endurance in the harsh Outback environment. Her book became a world-wide best seller once it graduated to the Harper Collins fold, particularly with support from the New Age movement. Initially the author states the book was written after her actual experience. In 1996 though, she admitted that the book was fiction – much to the anger of Australian Aboriginals who claim it gave a false picture of their traditional culture and current struggle for survival. Despite the controversy, the book touched the themes of living in harmony, of living as a spiritual being no matter the landscape. The tale stands as a mythic metaphor to examine modern culture and to review our poor stewardship of society and the planet. Fiction or non-fiction may be irrelevant, as the message is significant, profound and deeply touching.
The themes of Marlo Morgan’s book resonate strongly with Trailing Sky Six Feathers. But as the author of this book, I hold myself accountable to the process of remembering and the stubborn refusal to accept my links with the past until the veils of illusion dropped away.