It was a question I heard more than once, after Jonathan Seagull was published. “what are you going to write next, Richard? After Jonathan, what?”
I answered then that I didn’t have to write anything next, not a word, and that all my books together said everything that I had asked them to say. Having starved for a while, the car repossessed and that sort of thing, it was sort of fun not to have to work to midnights.
Still, every summer or so I took my antique biplane out in the green meadow seas of midwest America, flew passengers for three-dollar rides and began to feel an old tension again there was something left to say, and I hadn’t said it.
I do not enjoy writing at all. If I can turn my back on an idea, out there in the dark, if I can avoid opening the door to it, I won’t even reach for a pencil.
But once in a while there’s a great dynamite burst of flying glass and brick and splinters through the front
wall and someone stalks over the rubble, seizes me by the throat and gently says, “I will not let you go until you set me in words, on paper.” That’s how I met Illusions.
There in the Midwest, even, I’d lie on my back practicing cloud vaporizing, and I couldn’t get the story out of my mind…what if somebody came along who was really good at this, who could teach me how my world works and how to control it? What if I could meet a super advanced…what if a Siddhartha or a Jesus came into our time, with the power over the illusions of the world because he knew the reality behind them? And what if i could meet this person, if he were flying a biplane and landed in the same meadow with me? What would he say, what would he be like?
Maybe he wouldn’t be like the messiah on the oil streaked grass stained pages of my journal, maybe he wouldn’t say anything this book says. But then again, the things this one told me: that we magnetize into our lives whatever we hold in our thought, for instance if that is true, then somehow I have brought myself to this moment for a reason, and so have you. perhaps it is no coincidence that your holding this book; perhaps there’s something about these adventures that you came here to remember. I choose to think so. And I choose to think my messiah is perched out there on some other dimension, not fiction at all, watching us both, and laughing for the fun of it happening just the way we’ve planned it to be.
1. THERE WAS A MASTER COME UNTO THE EARTH, BORN IN THE HOLY LAND OF INDIANA, RAISED IN THE MYSTICAL HILLS EAST OF FORT WAYNE.
2. THE MASTER LEARNED OF THIS WORLD IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF INDIANA, AND AS HE GREW IN HIS TRADE AS A MECHANIC OF AUTOMOBILES.
3. BUT THE MASTER HAD LEARNINGS FROM OTHER LANDS AND OTHER SCHOOLS, FROM OTHER LIVES THAT HE HAD LIVED. HE REMEMBERED THESE, AND REMEMBERING BECAME WISE AND STRONG, SO THAT OTHERS SAW HIS STRENGTH AND CAME TO HIM FOR COUNCIL.
4. THE MASTER BELIEVED THAT HE HAD THE POWER TO HELP HIMSELF AND ALL OF MANKIND. AND AS HE BELIEVED SO IT WAS FOR HIM, SO THAT OTHERS SAW HIS POWER AND CAME TO HIM TO BE HEALED OF THEIR MANY TROUBLES AND THEIR MANY DISEASED.
5. THE MASTER BELIEVED THAT IT IS WELL FOR ANY MAN TO THINK UPON HIMSELF AS A SON OF GOD, AND AS HE BELIEVED, SO IT WAS. AND THE SHOPS AND GARAGES WHERE HE WORKED BECAME CROWDED AND JAMMED WITH THOSE WHO SOUGHT HIS LEARNING AND HIS TOUCH; AND THE STREETS OUTSIDE WITH THOSE WHO LONGED ONLY THAT THE SHADOW OF HIS PASSING MIGHT FALL UPON THEM AND CHANGE THEIR LIVES.