image: page from The Messiah’s Handbook, Richard Bach (2012)

“Everyone comes with a Design-O-Life Personal Future Construction Kit. Not everyone remembers where they put it.” The Messiah’s Handbook, Richard Bach

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Richard Bach, 1977) is one of my favourite books. Messiah’s Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul (The lost book from Illusions) is a companion publication. A distillation of the various quotes from the Messiah’s Handbook which forms an interior story within Illusions.

“In Richard Bach’s best-selling book Illusions, the mysterious hero Donald Shimoda

seems to carry the keys to the universe with him as he barnstorms the Midwest in

a Travel Air biplane. Shimoda’s secret is a small book, bound in what appears to be

suede, called the Messiah’s Handbook. This slim volume, which the hero frequently

quotes, is said to contain ‘whatever you need to know.’ All Shimoda has to do is

hold a question in his mind, close his eyes, open the book at random, open his eyes―

and the answer is there.

Here, at last, is the ‘lost book’ from Illusions―the Messiah’s Handbook. Within

these pages, you will find the answers to all your most important questions as well

as answers to questions that you may have never thought to ask―until now.” from Amazon/GoodReads

“It’s here somewhere,” she says, tossing aside pizza boxes, well-thumbed garden catalogues and pages of illuminated manuscripts.

“There’s an app for finding things,” I remind her as I pull out my phone.

“I have MY own system,” she retorts from under a pile of assorted lingerie and underpinnings. “Last touched; first found. Or, conversely, first touched; last found.”

System? Mayhem is more apt.

I duck and cover when she launches an astrolabe in the direction of my head. A remote control skitters across the table I crouch under.

A flurry of dust motes follows her movements. She stops to swirl, gauzy dress in Monet colours held up against her bathrobe.

“C-o-o-k-i-e” she laughs, the blue-purple Muppet on her hand. “Remember when we caused the easy bake oven to melt down?”

I smile; told we had overactive imaginations, never to be believed or word trusted, we made sure the labels stuck.

With cardboard boxes, house-broken crayons, cast-off dresses, passé hats, some dented armor and two dull swords, we put on plays; slayed princes; did vaudeville and tableaux. A bit of innocence in a splinter of time.

My revery is broken: “Here it is,” she screams with the glee of an excited 3-year-old, “I knew I had one.”

She holds a battered cardboard box with faded child-like lettering: “design-o-life future construction kit. instructions inclosed.”

Dropping down to sit, cross-legged on the floor, I clear a space. “Let’s play!”

Conjured up for Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge (#WQWC): 1 December | toys/play

At some point in grade school, I read [ in Just — ] by e.e. cummings  (published, 1920), and was profoundly (I know, an over used word) effected/altered by the po.em. My world became mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful.”

in Just-

spring          when the world is mud-

luscious the little

lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it’s


when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer

old balloonman whistles

far          and             wee

and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and






balloonMan          whistles




A serendip: I have a copy of the Messiah’s Handbook but had misplaced it (or packed in a box). Yesterday, when I was moving my crafting/gifts plastic tubs around, I found it wedged between the back of a bin and the wall!