A Spider Wanders Aimlessly Within The Warmth of a Shadow

Okay, so I’m listening to oooooolllllld Marillion again today, and I finally noticed my rip of Misplaced Childhood has developed some sort of digital flaws, so I’m having to rip it again. I kind of want to hear the remaster, but I only own the CD from before the remaster. Life goes on.

(And yes, I rip CDs to my computer a fair bit, along with whatever music I download, because I listen to a lot of music through earphones/earbuds, so as not to disturb my wife).

I’m also rereading Illusions, by Richard Bach, which I haven’t read since high school. No real reason why. I guess I just wanted to see if I can still connect with the metaphysically-inclined version of myself that I was back then.

This brings me to a conundrum, about the internet, but more to the point, about reassessing your heroes.

I read Richard Bach’s wikipedia page (which needs to be updated, apparently), which tells me that he divorced his second wife, Leslie Parrish, in around 1997, twenty years after his meeting her on the set of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The thing is, he wrote two really important books (to me) in the 80s, while married to her, about soul mates and true love: ‘One’, and ‘The Bridge Across Forever’. They were incredibly important books to me back then. I learned almost as much from them as I did from reading Illusions, which taught me about making the life you need from the power of your imagination and your mindset in life. Might seem like neo-hippy new age claptrap to many now, but I really felt, and still do feel, that much of what makes me what I am today came from absorbing those books back then.

And then I sort of lost touch with my hero. He wrote more books, and I think I even read one or two of them, and liked them, IIRC, but I wasn’t in that headspace anymore. I wasn’t looking for a Donald Shimoda anymore. I was looking for me. So they sort of flew right by me (heh), and I lost track of my hero.

But back to Leslie and the divorce. I don’t think this precisely invalidates those books, but it does add a rather rich wrinkle to the proceedings. My memory may be spotty, but I recall those books more or less explaining that soul mates were eternal, even if only in the moment, and that time and life on Earth weren’t the strict governors of what made soul mates tick. To be honest, I could just be conflating that with my later personal revelations that soul mates don’t necessarily last, even if you remain convinced that ‘she was the one’. Life is funny stuff.

So he moved on, for whatever reasons, and they got divorced and he remarried a while later, and he wrote more books, this time presumably without writing about his wife, just in case, which is a good thing, because apparently they’re divorced now, too. But his third ex-wife Sabryna was at his side to help him through his recovery after he nearly died in an airplane crash. So what does it say about soul mates?

It tells me that, in this life, there may not be only one. Still rare, still hard to find, and apparently, still hard to keep, regardless of how self-knowing you think you are. If losing Leslie and gaining Sabryna, only to lose her too, and then kinda sorta regain her in some fashion, means anything, it means that love is in the moment, and that you need to be in the moment to share it completely, and that true love and soul mates are really sweet ideas, but that the real truth of it is, you had to be there.

That’s something I’m relearning. I’m a good one to talk, but I’m notoriously remote and cautious these days, even though I’m married to a wonderful woman who deserves all of my love. It’s not her fault. She’s done nothing wrong (unless you count the bit about marrying a guy like me). I’m still in love with her. I’m not going anywhere without her.

But reading about Richard losing Leslie, even if it meant he found Sabryna, really is a sort of kick in the ass. It’ll take some rejiggering to work out what that really means to me. When even one of your heroes can’t quite make it work, what sort of prognosis does that give you to work with in your own life?

Just some edgy stuff to ponder. Time to see if there is water in the pipes to do the dishes with. I may have missed my window.


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