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.”
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
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!
December 7, 2021 at 9:49 am
crazy fun when things fall into the unexpected …. and yeah, why don’t you keep the fished out find surprise out and let it soak into you for a bit …. it might just be what you need(ed) to help soothe the spirit and ease the heart …. I mean, hey, you chose the quote, right ….follow the advice, in each moment, seriously, we have a choice to choose something else, without making excuses or being sucked into the swirlies of hell …. I mean, thought just came to me – you love the Bach book and companion right, you’ve always treasured it …. so that means something …. words to live by I believe you’ve even quoted ….. so why not, even if you’re “in the quiet zone” for it …. because hell, you could be toting around and tooting it up about Dante’s Inferno?? so yeah, hmm …. keep the best in your pockets and heart my friend (((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))) just because you could use some lately ….
December 9, 2021 at 2:36 pm
Funny you should mention Dante’s Inferno — it keeps coming up and around in my life, too. . . .
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December 9, 2021 at 3:00 pm
well, metaphorically speaking, remember, you can be a silent witness, even when it’s something directly hellish – you always have the choice in determining just how and how much you are willing to engage …. an I hope you’re not too banged up my friend ((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))
December 10, 2021 at 3:58 am
Got a lovely purple and yellow eye — developed it this morning. Colourful, but not swollen.
I don’t engage Dante (read more interpretations, I think, than the actual work. What intregues me is the concept of levels; where each sort of sinner ends up. I often imagine who and at what layer a more modern verision might include. Our sins have expanded as have the perpetraitors. Of couse, it’s based on my interpretation of what a sin is, lol.
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December 11, 2021 at 9:48 am
it’s a fascinating concept, situated in the historical + sociological, as well as what/how it applies to the present day – definitely something to let idly amuse in the brain …. but stripping it back closer to the bone, as influenced by Neil Gaiman’s quote: I think hell is something we carry about in our pockets. He said: I think hell is something we carry around with you. Not somewhere you go.
And in essence, this is true. Whether we create it through our emotional content, or whether it’s an actuality, as in say, living in a war zone or some such, then yeah, it’s actually with us. So it seems to me, we can choose to control some of it – apart from circumstances truly beyond our control. At any rate, it’s a concept – and Dante’s idea of levels is interesting.
And (((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))) for the ‘fall out” all the bruises and discolourations and aches etc. (Got your emails, will try to respond soon, having a really bad right hand crunch – it’s HELL. 😝😂😵👺 )
December 13, 2021 at 2:44 am
And, to further riff on Dante. Watched a very strange 1930s cartoon (TCM shows old cartoons on Saturday mornings) in which the Devil emerges from a book — Dante’s inferno, to try and entice the 3 no evil monkeys. Who then are rescued by other book inhabitants the Devil had called forth earlier. Of course, the Devil is chased back into Dante’s tome.
Oh yeah, we do carry our own personal hell around in our pockets, projected it, reflect it. Metaphysically and reality-wise. Didn’t Pope Benedict take hell away as a physical Catholic space or am I misremembering this?
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December 13, 2021 at 11:45 am
Sounds like an interesting cartoon – LOL – certainly not the usual fare, but then, sort of too. And to be sure, it’s also a metaphor, like most “hell and/vs. heaven” concepts.
Don’t know about Benedict trying to erase the hell concept – but Hell is part of Catholicism – always has been, probably always will be – the moral, ethical basis for “choice, free will, actions + consequences” etc. – but I think, like most things, people interpret as they wish and want, even in devout followers etc. So you might come across some who believe in an “otherworldly” heaven, hell and purgatory, of course, but then, others will dismiss it. Or fall somewhere in between, much like any other religious flavours. I mean, it’s like would you really believe in X number of virgins as an afterlife reward for being devout or a martyr to a cause? It seems to be a giant contradiction in itself – and I think often, it can be said the same for most “tightly wound” religious ideas. But then interpretation is what it is – sort of like a flavour of the month.