Monday, February 4, 2008

Curious Lives by Richard Bach



I finally got around to picking up that copy of Richard Bach's Curious Lives: Adventures from the Ferret Chronicles that I'd purchased a while back and never read.

I'm only 37 pages in, and already, I'm hooked.

Richard Bach is the author of one of my all-time favorite books, Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. He's probably best known for Jonathan Livingston Seagull, but I've read many of his works, including One, The Bridge Across Forever, and The Messiah's Handbook. I love his writing, his fearlessness to explore the way we look at the world, the way he blurs the lines between the possible and the impossible, and his courage to put all of these audacious visions down on paper.

Curious Lives is a story of a world where the inhabitants--poised on the brink of extinction at their own hands--rise from the ashes to create a world where there is no crime, or war, or hatred. I've come upon one scene that seems particularly apropos, given the state of our world right now.

An excerpt:

As the remains of ferret civilization watched, the philosopher faced a world's cameras and the surviving members of his nation's council.

"You will forgive me if I am not so eloquent or entertaining this evening," he said. "I have little to say, but perhaps I speak for more of us still alive."

He studied the remaining leaders, looked into the cameras beyond them to survivors on every corner of the globe.

"From this day forth," he said, and then he paused for a long while, "I withdraw my consent from evil."

The words echoed from speakers in halls and homes and public spaces.


I withdraw my consent from evil. Any other time, the idea would have been a puzzle, a trick of words. Today, however, Avedoi Merek became the voice of a civilization's conscience, stark and straight, and today a race of animals listened.

"I withdraw my consent," he said, "from war." Soft-spoken, an impossibility all of a sudden required.

"I withdraw my consent from violence," said Merek. "From hatred. From malice."

He looked into the heart of every one of his race left alive.

"I withdraw my consent from these. In my actions. In my thoughts. In my choices. I withdraw my consent from evil. Forever."

.....

An entire society with the freedom and the power to destroy itself listened, numbed at how close it had come to doing so.



These are scary times we live in. To date, we've lost 3,943 U.S. soldiers in the War on Iraq, with no end in sight. On the eve of "Super Tuesday," I sit here, unable to decide who I want to support with my vote tomorrow. I don't honestly think that any of the current candidates has what it takes to set things right for our country.

Perhaps that's because I'm looking for the solution outside of myself, instead of looking inward. Perhaps it's time I gave a bit more thought to what I could be doing to effect the change I want to see in the world.


That's how Richard Bach's books are: they make you see the world just a little bit differently than you did before.

I'm off to read some more. Ferrets...gah. And yet...I am drawn in. You can click the link below to learn more about the book, if you care to join me.

Hampton Roads Publishing: Curious Lives by Richard Bach

5 comments:

Kristen said...

I'm still trying to get over his divorce from Leslie Parish Bach.

Ruined "Bridge Across Forever" for me - forever! :)

I still like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, though.

LisaYak said...

I know! I think he was really surprised at the visceral reaction so many people had to their divorce.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading and like you find his work captivating. These are wonderful. Regarding Bridge Across Forever, and Leslie, I don't find it in any way compromises the premise of the book, who says soulmates have to stay together. That's my experience any way :-) What's your experience of soul mates? Btw, in case you're mine and you don' know it yet, Hello :-)

Savannah said...

Illusions was absolutely my favorite. It was brilliant. JLS wasn't as deep, to me. And I quit reading him when I got to the one about him and his wife traveling through time on a plane....? Was that "Bridge Across Forver?" I can't remember.

LisaYak said...

Well, I can tell you that Curious Lives is DEFINITELY worth a read, if you enjoyed Illusions. In particular, the story that was originally published as "Chasing the Muse: Writer Ferrets" is absolutely a must!