Yah Yah the series is an amalgamation of theory, religious beliefs, mythology, porch conversation, and questions you never asked, maybe because you didn’t want to know the answers. Uncle Yah Yah himself is a combination guru, mystic, theologian, and horseback preacher minus the horse. Filled with proverbs - some familiar, many original - Vol. II reunites the protagonist, reporter Rudy Hawkins, with the man changing Rudy’s life and spirituality, Uncle Yah Yah and his increasing flock.
Hawkins’ life is falling apart, but Yah Yah’s complexly simplistic viewpoint of being grounds Hawkins and provides him focus. Through Uncle Yah Yah, the author melds his own view of his past, present, and hopeful future to the wisdoms imparted upon humankind from the beginning, and presents an offering of opinion that at a minimum will cause brows to rise, fingertips to tap closed lips, and occasionally, eyes to roll. But isn’t that the purpose of shared thought and meaningful inspiration? To create individual thought, regardless of whether or not the reader agrees with the material presented.
Al Dickens isn’t some literary scholar bent on changing the world. His prose is basic, not gardens of flowery phrases. His message is undisguised and undiluted, just like the man himself. You see, that’s the true beauty of this series. Al Dickens has a tested IQ of 72. He spent the last fifty years of his life in prison for a string of bank robberies, studying the writings of those who came before us in order to understand his own failings, his mistakes, and how by improving his lot, he might inspire others to broaden their lives as well. What he has learned he shares with us through Uncle Yah Yah.
Q) How did the character Uncle Yah Yah come to be?
A) In prison, Al, spent a lot of his time reading books. He kept a notebook to save things he found inspirational. After saving notes for 13 years, his notebook was very large. He wanted to share this knowledge, so he created a fictitious character, Uncle Yah Yah, and made the notebook the teachings of Yah Yah.
Q) There were those who did not believe you were capable of creating such profound opinions. Did those people detract you, or cause you to dig even deeper inside for the will to persevere?
A) At the age of 22, Al started serving prison time. He was considered border line mentally retarded. He started school at Trenton State Prison, N.J. He started on a third grade level of grammar school. By the year 1973, he had 74 college credits and was writing books. Most folks in prison, inmates and prison officials were encouraging and helpful.
Q) Of all the faiths and practices you studied, what one do you believe had the greatest impact on you personally?
A) Islam; the Spiritual Teachings.
Q) If you had to choose one message of love and hope to inspire readers, which one would that be?
A) What you look for, you will find. What your hands plant will grow. Don’t plant apples and look for oranges. What goes around comes around. If you do good-good comes back to you.
Q) Love of family, holding family together, is hugely important to you. How supportive has your family been in your endeavors?
A) After all my family has been through, they are very happy with the outcome . . . from prison to respectability.
Q) Any parting thoughts for those not familiar with your work?
A) There is no God, outside of man, and no man outside of God.DA Kentner is an author and journalist. www.kevad.net