The Books: “The Bridge Across Forever” (Richard Bach)

Daily Book Excerpt: Adult fiction:

bridgeforever.jpegThe Bridge Across Forever: A True Love Story – by Richard Bach. If you read a couple of the Amazon reviews on the re- release of this long-time NY Times bestseller – the ultimate “soulmate” book – you can start to see how angry people are at Richard Bach. Like: really angry. I’ve spent some time on Richard Bach message forums – and there’s a real sense of betrayal in some people. Because life down here – in the swamp – without the astral travel, and the money, and the glamour – kinda sucks – and we all want to find OUR mates – but it’s not so easy! And it’s not that Richard Bach makes it sound easy in this book – he puts Leslie Parrish through hell. It’s that, after 20 years of marriage – he divorced her. So what does THAT mean for all of us schmucks down here who looked to him as a kind of guide? Whether or not you think it’s unfair to put all of that responsibility onto Bach’s shoulders is another conversation, albeit a very interesting one (there are entire forums devoted to discussing this on various Richard Bach fan sites). It seems to me that some of the sense of “betrayal” is unfair. Because Richard Bach is, after all, just a man. He is not a floaty astral guide from the planet Vega. He is just a MAN. Yes, he set himself up as a guide in his books – there is much that is VERY profound in them … but still. He is a human being.

I didn’t feel betrayed when I heard that Bach and Parrish had divorced. No, I had a much more unattractive response. Mine was more of a grim smug response, lacking sympathy, that sort of “serves you right” response that I mostly associate with self-righteous hypocritcal Christian gossips. I actually think I would prefer the betrayal. That sort of smug glee in the face of someone else’s misfortune is so not me. But I will say this: my response has since changed. That was just my first response. I’ve gone back and re-read all the books. Part of why I wrote those soulmate essays was to come to terms with the whole Richard Bach thing – I’m still not done with them, actually. But there was a lot there that I needed to say. I actually feel sad for Bach now. That’s one part of my response to him. He has six children and you would never know it from any of his books. They just do not factor at all into his emotional makeup. You would never know it. And again: I can’t stand the smug “serves you right” response … I am much more interested in … what the HELL was going on with him??

And some of the passages of Bridge Across Forever still resonate today. It’s almost like it’s even MORE interesting now that I know that after 20 years, they called it quits. I wish he’d write about THAT. But I wonder. His “soulmate” theory (and he says it himself in the book) requires perfection. Any time Leslie does something, no matter how small, that doesn’t fit with his view of “Her”, his “ideal” – he’s all taken aback. So all of this MEANING is assigned to poor Leslie Parrish, who is just in love, and trying to have a relationship with this man. Like he discovers one day that, when agitated, Leslie Parrish swears like a longshoreman. He is surprisingly (and annoyingly, to me) prudish about this. He is shocked, offended. His “perfect woman” wouldn’t swear like that. Leslie, bless her, laughs until she cries when she sees the shocked prissy look on his face. “Ohhhh, did my swearing shock poor little Richie?” But there are many examples of this. Anyone who thinks perfection is the ultimate goal – is a totalitarian at heart. Something’s wrong there. We all want to be happy. But some people don’t want to feel. And that is their definition of happy. Richard Bach is that kind of person. Leslie has normal emotions – she’s not on a short leash with herself. She gets upset, frustrated – she’s not afraid of her own anger – If she feels like Bach is running away from her, she comes right out and says it. Bach is frightened and pressured by this. He thinks they should just float in and out of each other’s orbits, without expecting anything … no true involvement … floating ABOVE the mess of real life. This is Bach’s ideal. That’s a very neurotic ideal – but I only see this now after 20 years of life, and having learned some hard lessons myself. I yearned for nothingness too. I yearned for perfection, for stasis – for: “happily ever after”. These things did not come to me. I lost. Maybe I gained something too – but all I am mainly aware of is the loss. Still. To this day.

Many people have had similar experiences as mine – and took it out on Richard Bach. “I lost my soulmate – NOW WHAT?” In a funny way, it’s like Richard Bach IS Donald Shimoda, the Reluctant Messiah in Illusions. Donald Shimoda has a lot of answers to things – and yet he refuses to act like he “owns” the answers. The answers are for all of us – we just need to discover them for ourselves. But this is too much for some people. They need to BLAME, they don’t want to take responsiblity … Bach was a guru to them, and he failed. He lied to them. (This is how they see it). And when word came out that he divorced Leslie – he got death threats, etc.

There are a lot of literal-minded people out there. Damaged people who cling to your “word” – any word – that will give them hope.

Bridge Across Forever – as I wrote in one of my soulmates essays – got me through what was maybe the roughest time of my life – freshman and sophomore year in college. I read it and re-read it, and the copy of the book I am looking at right now is the same one I read back then. It is literally falling apart. I have taped the cover back on. It’s in shreds. I eventually moved on – and although the “soulmate” thing continued to inform my thoughts and dreams – until everything fell apart in my late 20s – I can still look at Bridge Across Forever and appreciate it for what it is.

He is just a man. And some of his writing is a bit too cutesy for me, but some of it STILL has the power to get underneath my skin.

Here’s an excerpt – I really struggled with choosing one. Leslie Parrish writes him a goodbye letter which is rightly famous – seriously, if you’re gonna tell someone off, with love, you couldn’t do any better than to just copy that letter and hand it off. Unbelievable. So I thought of choosing that. Then there’s his “vision” of love (Mariah??) – the “I AM. AND YOU ARE. AND LOVE. IS ALL. THAT MATTERS” bombardment – I love that section too. I also love the 9 hour long conversation the two of them have … this is before they’ve hooked up. Great stuff.

But here’s what I chose. Richard Bach has been spending “too much time” with Leslie – he’s feeling trapped – he doesn’t want to limit his options – so he goes off to his house in Key West – where he has a whole airport full of airplanes that he owns (this was in the wake of the success of JLS and Illusions – he suddenly had become richer than he knew what to do with). Anyway, he’s fled Leslie and he walks into his empty house in Key West only to be greeted by a knight, in clanking medieval armor. The knight scolds him: “Why are you spending so much time with Leslie? She is not your perfect woman. You have to keep searching, Richard. Don’t tie yourself down.” There’s a long philosophical argument – between Richard and his own armor – The knight wins the battle.

And Richard is left with wondering what the hell he should do.

The message in the following excerpt still resonates with me: So was there some future ahead of me that could not possibly happen without my first having lived this free lonely present.

I often feel trapped in my “free lonely present”. I wonder if someday I will look back on this time and think, “Now all of THAT – back there – makes sense.” David says he is sure that that is the case. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it. How much I want to believe that.

Excerpt from The Bridge Across Forever: A True Love Story – by Richard Bach.

I answered mail for an hour, worked on a magazine article that had no deadline. Then, restless, I wandered downstairs to the hangar.

Over the great hollow place hung the faintest veil of something wrong … so light a vapor that there was nothing to see.

The little BD-5 jet needed flying, to blow the cobwebs from its control surfaces.

There are cobwebs on me, too, I thought. It is never wise to lose one’s skill in any airplane, to stay away too long. The baby jet was demanding, the only aircraft I had flown more dangerous on takeoff than landing.

Twelve feet from nose to tail, it wheeled out of the hangar like a hot-dog pushcart without the umbrella, and as lifeless. Not quite lifeless, I thought. It was sullen. I’d be sullen, too, left alone for weeks, spiders in my landing gear.

Canopy cover removed, fuel checked, preflight inspection done. There was dust on the wings.

I should hire someone to dust the airplanes, I thought, and snorted in disgust. What a lazy fop I have become – hire somebody to dust my airplanes!

I used to be intimate with one airplane, now there’s a tin harem; I’m the sheikh come to visit now and then. The Twin Cessna, the Widgeon, the Meyers, the Moth, the Rapide, the Lake amphibian, the Pitts Special … once a month, if then, do I start their engines. Only the T-33 had recent time in its logbook, flying back from California.

Careful, Richard, I thought. To be distant from the airplane one flies is not to invite longevity.

I slid into the baby-jet’s cockpit, stared at an instrument panel turned unfamiliar with time.

Used to be, I spent every day with the Fleet, crawled upside-down in the cockpit reaching hay off the floor, streaked my sleeves with oil cleaning the engine and setting the valves just so, tightening cylinder hold-down bolts. Today, I’m as intimate with my many airplanes as I am with my many women.

What would leslie think about that, she who values everything? Weren’t we intimate, she and I? I wish she were here.

“Tailpipe clear!” I called the warning from habit, and pressed the start switch.

The igniters fired TSIK! TSIK! TSIK!, and at last a rumble of jet fuel lighting off in burner cans. Tailpipe temperature swept up its gauge, engine rpm turned round on its tiny dial.

So much is habit. Once we learn an airplane, our hands and eyes know how to make it runl ong after our minds have forgotten. Had someone stood at the cockpit and asked how to start the engine, I couldn’t have said … only after my hands finished the starting sequence could I have explained what they had done.

The rough perfume of burning jetfuel sifted into the cockpit … memories of a thousand other flights sifted along with it. Continuity. This day is part of a lifetime spent mostly flying.

You know another meaning for flying, Richard? Escaping. Running away. What am I escaping, and what am I finding, these days?

I taxied to the runway, saw a few cars stop at the airport fence to watch. There wasn’t much for them to see. The jet was so small that without the airshow smoke system on, it would be out of sight before it reached the far end of the runway.

Takeoff is critical, remember. Lightly on the control stick, Richard, feather lightly. Accelerate to 85 knots, then lift the nosewheel one inch and let the airplane fly itself off. Force it off and you are dead.

Pointed down the white runway centerline, canopy closed and locked, I pressed full throttle and the little machine crept forward. With its tiny engine, the jet gathered speed about as fast as an Indian oxcart. Haflway down the runway it was moving, but still asleep … 60 knots was far too slow to fly. A long time later we were going 85 knots, wide open, and most of the runway was behind us.

I eased the nosewheel off the concrete, and a few seconds later we were airborne, barely, low and sluggish, off the end of the runway, straining to clear the trees.

Wheels up.

Mossy branches flashed ten feet below. Airspeed up to 100 knots, 120 knots, 150 knots and at last the machine woke up and I began to relax in the cockpit,. At 180 the little thing would do anything I wanted it to do. All it needed was airspeed and free sky and it was a delight.

How important was flying to me! It stood for all I loved. Flight seems magic, but it’s a learned, practiced skill with a learnable lovable partner. Principles to know, laws to follow, disciplines that lead, curiously enough, to freedom. So much like music, is flying! Leslie would love it.

Away off airways to the north a line of cumulus built toward thunderstorms. Ten minutes and we were skating on their smooth-dome tops, off the edge into thin air, two miles down to the wilderness.

When I was a kid I’d hide in the weeds and watch clouds, see another me perched way up high on just such an edge as this, waving a flag to the boy in the grass, shouting HI DICKIE! and never being heard for the height. Tears in his eyes, he wanted so much to live one minute on a cloud.

The jet turned at the notion, climbed, then shot toward the cloudtop, an Austrian down a ski-jump. We plunged our wings briefly into the hard mist, pulled up and rolled. Sure enough, dwindling behind us, a curling white flag of cloud to mark the jump. Hi, Dickie! I thought, louder than a shout. Hi Dickie crosstime to the kid on the ground thirty years before. Hold your passion for the sky, kiddo, and I promise: what you love will find a way to sweep you up from the earth, high into its joyful scary answers for every question you can ask.

A level rocket, we were, cloudscape changing highspeed around us.

Did he hear?

Do I remember hearing then the promise I just this minute gave the kid watching from the grass of a different year? Maybe. Not the words, but the dead-sure knowing that I would someday fly.

We slowed, rolled inverted, plunged straight down for a long way. What a thought! What if we could talk between us, from one time to another, Richard-now encouraging Dickie-then, touching not in words but in way-deep rememberings of adventures yet to be. Like psychic radio, transmitting wishes, hearing intuitions.

How much to learn if we could spend one hour, spend twenty minutes with the us-we-will-become! How much could we say to us-we-were?

Smoothly smoothly, with the gentlest touch of one finger on the control stick, the little airplane eased out of its dive. At redline airspeed one does nothing sudden with an aircraft, lest it become a puff of separate parts stopped midflight, fluttering here and there into swamps.

Lower clouds shot past like bursts of peaceful flak; a lonely road flicked below and was gone.

Such an experiment that would be! To say hello to all the other Richards flown out ahead of me in time, to find a way to listen to what they’d say! And the alternate me’s in alternate futures, the ones who made different decisions along the way, who turned left at corners I turned right, what would they have to tell me? Is their life better or not? How would they change it, knowing what they know now? And none of this, I thought, is to mention the Richards in other lifetimes, in the far futures and the far pasts of the Now. If we all live Now, why can’t we communicate?

By the time the airport was in sight, the little jet had forgiven me my neglects and we were friends again. It was harder to forgive myself, but so it usually is.

We slowed and entered the landing pattern, that same pattern that I had seen the day I got off the bus and walked to the airport. Can I see him now, walking there with his bedroll and news he was a millionaire? What do I have to say to him? Oh, my, what do I have to say?

As easy to land as it was tricky to take off, the BD-5 hushed down final approach, touched its miniature wheels to the ground, rolled long and straight to the last taxiway. Then primly she turned and in a minute we were back at the hangar, engine-fire off, turbine spinning slower and slower and stopped at last.

I patted her canopy-bow and thanked her for the flight, the custom of any pilot who’s flown longer than he or she thinks they’ve deserved.

The other airplanes watched enviously. They wanted to fly, too; needed to fly. Here the poor Widgeon, oil leaking from the nose-case of her right engine. The seal had dried from being still for so long.

Could I listen to airplane’s futures, as well as my own? Had I practiced and known her future then, I would not have felt sad. She would become a television-star airplane, opening each episode of a wildly popular TV series, flying to a beautiful island, landing on the water, taxiing to dock sparkling and pretty, no oil leaks anywhere. And she couldn’t have that future without the present she lived right now, dusty in my hangar after flying her few hundred hours with me.

So was there some future ahead of me that could not possibly happen without my first having lived this free lonely present.

I climbed the stairs back to the house, absorbed in the possibility of contact with the other aspects of me, Richards-before and Richards-yet-to-be, the I’s of other lifetimes, other planets, other hypnotic space-times.

Would any of them have looked for a soulmate? Would any of them have found her?

Intuition – the future/past always-me – whispered back, that moment on the stairs:


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14 Responses to The Books: “The Bridge Across Forever” (Richard Bach)

  1. ilyka says:

    This excerpt perfectly illustrates my frustration with him as a writer. One moment he charms me with self-effacement (which requires self-awareness):

    What a lazy fop I have become – hire somebody to dust my airplanes!

    –and the next moment he annoys me with the New Age stuff:

    I climbed the stairs back to the house, absorbed in the possibility of contact with the other aspects of me, Richards-before and Richards-yet-to-be, the I’s of other lifetimes, other planets, other hypnotic space-times.

    –which, maybe I’m heartless or too pragmatic or have no soul, but I just read as “absorbed in MEMEMEMEME.” You know, we all do that, but Bach celebrates doing that, whereas I have to mock it. Have to. It’s compulsory.

  2. red says:

    hahahaha it’s compulsory!!

    I agree with you – I think he’s best when he counter-acts that New Age stuff – most definitely. But I fear (from what I hear) that he has completely gone in the New Age direction now – with absolutely no pragmatic voice left.

  3. Ken says:

    The whole notion of the “ideal” is practically–perhaps actually–Hegelian. The Ideal is a construct of perfect Mind, or something like that, and there is no objective reality that exists unperceived.

    Which is another way of saying, “Nothing matters except in accordance with its proximity to or interaction with Me.”

  4. Paul says:

    I’m loving your Bach excerpts. I can go years without even thinking about the guy and then reading this just draws me right back in. He was a huge influence for me in my twenties – among other things he’s the reason I learned to fly. And I still find him really fascinating.

    Here’s an interesting paradox. If it wasn’t for Bach, I would never have joined a certain glider club and eventually met the gal I married. But if I still bought into the whole ‘perfect woman’ concept, I would have never even dated her [being a stepdad was never on my radar]. Not sure what that says about the whole soulmate concept, but I kindof like the irony.

  5. red says:

    Paul – wow, I love to hear that!! Great stuff.

  6. xyz says:

    That’s kind of weird. I remember reading the book about the seagull and thought it was ok. Then my mom also had the Bridge Across Forever lying around, so I read that as well. I must have been a teenager at that time. I read it and thought he sounded so smug. Later I found out through comments on Amazon that he and Leslie had gotten divorced and I was not very surprised about it. To this day, I don’t really understand how people could read this book and let themselves get so fooled by his words.

  7. N157JS says:

    I think the intimate details that RB disclosed, no, trumpeted about his relationship with Leslie amplify the sense of “WHAT???” that his readers felt when they learned they’d split.

    RB abandoned wife one with 6 children, went on an adolescent hippie journey “barnstorming”, got wealthy, began to immerse himself in the lusts of his life (women and airplanes). Along the way he proclaimed himself guru, first for himself and then for others who were attracted to his psychobabble. He demonstrated time and again that he would just not be bothered-PERIOD- with anything that didn’t amuse/gratify him (decided he didn’t believe in marriage after 6 children and didn’t believe in being a father so he simply walked away). Taxes? Not part of his “reality”, therefore they didn’t exist. How that work out for ya, RB? When Leslie was charming/goregous/intriguing, all was well but eventually, like the airplane-toys that wound up gathering dust the interest waned.

    RB is indeed one of the most self centered people I have known or known of. An interesting writer when he is not proclaiming the wisdom of the ages (his construction of it) but in many ways just another pathetic and immature child.

    Remember the scene in Forrest Gump where the crowd followed Guru Forrest across hill and dale, through sunny days and foul because they were sure he “knew” he truth?
    For me, that’s Richard Bach and those who followed his blatherings….

  8. Riny Visser says:

    I don’t know Richard Bach personally, I only read a few books by him. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Aviation Trilogy, The Bridge Across Forever and A Gift of Wings. I love these books, because I never read anything that is so full of joy, especially when it comes to flying. I read a lot of books about flying, did some flying myself: gliding and for some years I flew Cessna’s als a sport pilot. The money ran out, so I had to quit. Richard Bach is one of the very few authors who really takes you with him in an airplane when he writes about flying. You almost feel the turbulence, hear the sound of the engine and the airstream flowing. Whatever you may think of him as a person, he is a wonderful writer, with a fine sense of humor.
    One of the fine things in “The Bridge Across Forever” is, that he mocks himself and gives Leslie all the credits. She saves him from lonelyness by giving him her love and teaching him to love. I like the motto of the book: “For Leslie, who taught me to fly”. Such a sentence tells everyting about this man.
    About the divorce with his first wife he writes something like: “we could not stand to be in one room together”. That means to me that a lot has gone wrong between Richard and Bette. What strikes me is that when Bach writes or talks about his first wife, he always refers to her in a positive way. I dit not read the book Bette has written, but from excerpts published on the Internet I understand that they have been very happy in the first stage of their marriage and also she refers to Richard in a kind and positive way.
    I heard and saw some interviews with Richard Bach on the Internet, TV and radio. He looks and sounds as a very nice man who loves to be in contact with other people. I can’t believe he is the egoist bastard a lot of people think of him. I think that his divorce from Leslie fits in his and Leslies view of life: there can be a moment in your life when you realize you have learned together anything that there is to learn. That does not mean the love is over. I believe that loving another person also means to give her the freedom to find another love and new lessons to learn.
    Reading “The Bridge” was very inspiring to me when my wife and I had a difficult time together. We are still together and love each other as much as 30 years ago, when we met. We are able to solve problems by being honest to each other and giving each other freedom and space to do things on our own or with other people. The only restrictions are no sex with other persons and no lies and/or sneaky behaviour. It still works wonderfully.
    About Bach getting married to a much younger woman, you may have your doubts. But we are talking about the man who once did not believe in marriage. After the divorce he married again. That says a lot about the lessons he learned with Leslie. In one of the interviews Bach said that splitting up with Leslie was painful. He never criticizes her. I think Richard Bach is a very kind and loving person, even if we don’t fully understand why he has taken some dicisions. I will try to lay my hand on the book his son Jonathan wrote. As I understand from some reviews Jonathan has been very angry of his father, but writes about him respectfully and understandingly.
    Like any human being, Richard Bach has his shortcomings, but I believe in his total integrity when he writes and talks about love and the things which matters to hem so much. I don’t believe in a lot of New Age stuff he talks about, but I love his ideas about freedom, love and understanding and especially the way he puts his feelings and thoughts into words!

  9. Riny Visser says:

    I don’t intend to defend Richard Bach. I only want to express that his divorce from Leslie is not contrary to the things he writes about love and commitment. For me the most important thing is, that you should not judge a person you don’t know personelly. Even in that case judging other people is a tricky business.
    I just read an excerpt of Bette’s book on her website. She portrays Richard Bach as a very loving and inspiring personality. We don’t know what exactly went wrong between them. Maybe he just let her in the lurch. That must have been a great shock, because it’s something Bette could’nt expect from the man she discribes as her loving husband and great friend.

  10. Tom Grynn says:

    Great review and comment thread. My experience with TBAF parallels yours, from it being very influential when I was younger going through a lonely, hard time in my life, to finding it upon reread a couple of decades later as being alternatively insufferable but then still strangely compelling in certain parts. As you say, some parts of it still have a particular kind of power, perhaps because it was so tied into a less-than-pleasant time for me and can still bring some of those feelings forth. I know some people dismiss the book as a big con job, but I don’t get that feeling even knowing how their relationship turned out, nor do I think it was as simple as that he just ditched his wife for a younger woman.

    On one of the old Bach forums, one of RB’s sons posted what I thought was a cognizant point, that we should keep in mind that TBAF was a love story written by someone in love, so its portrayal of a number of things, including that of Leslie’s character in the book, wasn’t exactly inaccurate, but wasn’t the whole story either.

    I think something else that’s a little difficult to keep in mind, when re-reading the books (or reading for the first time), is that the events described in them happened a long time ago. “Bridge” was published in 1984, “One” in 1989, RFS in 1994, and I believe the divorce happened around ’97-’99. Most of that is more than two decades ago, now. Who among us is the same person they were 20 years ago?

    While both Richard and Leslie are still alive, all the people in the books as the people they were are effectively gone, lost to the passage of time. They wrote some beautiful stories together, and I hope they found happiness, as individuals if not as a couple. Readers have as much explanation as we’re likely to ever have as far as “why did this happen?”, which is unsatisfying after how intimate “Bridge” was, but that’s how it is.

    • sheila says:

      Tom – I really appreciate your thoughtful comment and your take on all of it. My “relationship” with the book has lasted now 30 years or so – it’s amazing how the book changes as I change.

      I hope they both found happiness as well. Bach’s latest books don’t convince me of that – he seems rather lost – very disconnected from the wellspring of his creativity – but I’m not sure your take on that. I don’t follow him that closely anymore – but his books were very important to me once upon a time.

  11. Tom Gryn says:

    Sheila – I’ll admit I haven’t kept up with his more recent stuff. I know he did “Illusions II”, an additional closing chapter to JLS, and a few more flying books – what little I read of I-II didn’t make me want to pick it up.

    I’ve seen this phenomena with some authors in the self-help movement (for lack of a better term) where they have one Really Great Idea which forms the basis of their first book and sequel. Unfortunately, to make a living as a writer usually requires more than a single big success, so they keep writing, either as derivatives of their main idea or as branches into other areas where they may not be as wise. If they’ve achieved “guru” status their readers/followers will keep buying their stuff, but its never quite as good as the first. I’d put Wayne Dyer in this category, and probably Bach if one accepts JLS and Illusions as different expressions of the same idea.

    (the same thing happens in music, where the first album for a band which they may have had 10-15 years to refine is really great, but the follow-ups done under much tighter time constraints aren’t nearly as good)

    What I’d like to see from Bach is a book where he delves into how his ideas have developed and changed over time and with the wisdom of getting older. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced they really *have* undergone much modification, which makes them great for people at a certain stage in life but not very useful for folks either not there yet or who have matured past that point with more life experience.

    As a final sidenote on TBAF, on his old website Bach did write a couple of rather veiled explanations as to why the divorce happened, and I interpret them as saying that one factor was that they disagreed about whether to retire from work and the public life or not. Whether that’s true or not, only the two of them know. It does appear that LP did succeed in completely disappearing from the public sphere, quite an accomplishment considering it happened just around the time when the Web was starting to skyrocket in popularity.

  12. Paul says:

    Very interesting reading! I was writing my own book, with a sci-fi theme, and when it reached a point where there was a relationship issue across time and a parallel reality, I suddenly remembered “ Bridge”, and decided to re-read it, to see if my subconscious wasn’t making me write something similar. Fortunately, it wasn’t, but the book seemed completely different from when I last read it, long ago.
    This is probably because when I read it for the first time I was searching for different things in life. Now, decades later, it is a different book.
    About their divorce…it seems to me that he is the same guy from the book. The beautiful and wonderful Leslie was the one that made him settle down for some years. Then, he was again the one he described so well in the book.
    As for me, I found the ‘right one’… but, unlike him, I do not intend to get a much younger woman , just one month after a divorce. And you can learn how to do astral travels without being ‘superior’ or ‘enlighted’. It’s just an ability…

  13. bill savoy says:

    Richard found a new airplane. He left the old one in the hangar.
    Richard found a new woman. He left Leslie in the hangar.
    Richard loves an idea – or an ideal.
    Richard does not love a woman.

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