Richard Bach: Wikis


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Richard David Bach
Born 23 June 1936 (1936-06-23) (age 73)
Oak Park, Illinois
Occupation Writer
Genres Aviation, Fantasy, Philosophy

Richard David Bach (born 23 June 1936) is an American writer. He is widely known as the author of the hugely popular 1970s best-sellers Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, and others. His books espouse his philosophy that our apparent physical limits and mortality are merely appearance. He claims to be a direct descendant of Johann Sebastian Bach, but the last direct Bach died in 1871, and the last non direct died in 1846[citation needed]. He is noted for his love of flying and for his books related to air flight and flying in a metaphorical context. He has pursued flying as a hobby since the age of 17.


Life and work

Bach was born at Oak Park, Illinois.

He attended Long Beach State College in 1955. He has authored numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970), Illusions (1977), One (1989), and Out of My Mind (1999). Most of his books have been semi-autobiographical, using actual or fictionalized events from his life to illustrate his philosophy.

He served in the Navy Reserve, then later in the United States Air Force (USAF) as a jet pilot. Afterwards, he worked a variety of jobs, including technical writer for Douglas Aircraft and contributing editor for Flying magazine. He served in the USAF reserve deployed in France in 1960. He later became a barnstormer. Most of his books involve flight in some way, from the early stories which are straightforwardly about flying aircraft, to Stranger to the Ground, his first book, to his later works, in which he used flight as a philosophical metaphor.

In 1970, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a story about a seagull who flew for the love of flying rather than merely to catch food, was published by Macmillan Publishers after the manuscript was turned down by many other publishers. The book, which included unique photos of seagulls in flight by photographer Russell Munson, became a number-one bestseller on both the fiction and non-fiction lists.[citation needed] The book contained fewer than 10,000 words, yet it broke all hardcover sales records since Gone with the Wind. It sold more than 1,000,000 copies in 1972 alone.[1] The surprise success of the book was widely reported in the media in the early 1970s.[2]

During the summer of 1970 Bach, and his friend Chris Cagle, travelled to Ireland where they participated in flying sequences supporting Roger Corman's film Von Richthofen & Brown. Here they flew a variety of World War One aircraft of the Blue Max collection owned by ex-RCAF pilot Lynn Garrison. Bach originally met Garrison when he wrote articles for AVIAN, Lynn Garrison's aviation publication.

In 1973, the book was turned into a movie, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, produced by Paramount Pictures Corporation. The movie included a soundtrack by Neil Diamond.

A second book, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, published in 1977, tells the story of the narrator's encounter with a modern-day messiah who has decided to quit.

Bach has retained a dedicated fan base throughout the years. During the 1990s, Bach appeared online at Compuserve, where he answered e-mails personally. Bach was interviewed in April, 2005 on Conscious Talk Radio, and this interview was replayed a few times in 2006. Click here to download it.

Bach had six children with his first wife, Bette. Bette typed and edited most of Richard's aviation writings. They divorced in 1970, because Richard didn't believe in marriage. Bette Bach Fineman, who remarried, is also a pilot, and the author of Patterns, about her life as a pilot and single mother. Their son, Jonathan, is a software engineer and journalist, who wrote Above the Clouds about growing up without knowing his father, Richard; and then later meeting him as a college student. (Richard gave his approval; although he noted that it included some personal history he'd "rather not see in print").[3] Other children are Robert, a commercial airline pilot; Kristel; James, a computer expert and writer; and Erika. His youngest daughter, Bethany, was killed in an accident at the age of fifteen in 1985.

In 1977 Bach married actress Leslie Parrish whom he met during the making of the Jonathan Livingston Seagull movie.[4] She was a major element in two of his subsequent books—The Bridge Across Forever and One—which primarily focused on their relationship and Bach's concept of soulmates. They divorced amicably in 1999. Bach was married to his third wife, Sabryna Nelson-Alexopoulos in April 1999.


  • Stranger to the Ground (1963) Dell reprint (1990), ISBN 0-440-20658-8
  • Biplane (1966) Dell Reprint (1990), ISBN 0-440-20657-X
  • Nothing by Chance (1969) Dell Reprint 1990, ISBN 0-440-20656-1
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970) Macmillan, ISBN 0-380-01286-3
  • A Gift of Wings (1974) Dell Reissue (1989), ISBN 0-440-20432-1
  • There's No Such Place As Far Away (1976) Delta (1998), ISBN 0-385-31927-4
  • Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (1977), ISBN 0-385-28501-9
  • The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story (1984) Dell Reissue (1989), ISBN 0-440-10826-8
  • One (1988) Dell Reissue 1989, ISBN 0-440-20562-X
  • Running from Safety (1995) Delta, ISBN 0-385-31528-7
  • Out of My Mind (2000) Delta, ISBN 0-385-33490-7
  • The Ferret Chronicles (five novellas):
    • Air Ferrets Aloft (2002) Scribner, ISBN 0-7432-2753-0
    • Rescue Ferrets at Sea (2002) Scribner, ISBN 0-7432-2750-6
    • Writer Ferrets: Chasing the Muse (2002) Scribner, ISBN 0-7432-2754-9
    • Rancher Ferrets on the Range (2003) Scribner, ISBN 0-7432-2755-7
    • The Last War: Detective Ferrets and the Case of the Golden Deed (2003) Scribner, ISBN 0-7432-2756-5
  • Curious Lives: Adventures from the Ferret Chronicles (2005) Hampton Roads Publishing Company, ISBN 1-57174-457-6

The book Curious Lives is in fact the above five Ferret Chronicles books collected in one volume, the only changes being changes to the titles of each of the five.

  • Flying: The Aviation Trilogy (2003) Scribner, ISBN 0-7432-4747-7, Collected edition containing
    • Stranger to the Ground
    • Biplane
    • Nothing by Chance
  • Messiah's Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul (2004), ISBN 1-57174-421-5
  • Hypnotizing Maria (2009), ISBN 1-57174-623-4


  1. ^ "20th-Century American Bestsellers". Retrieved 2006-09-09. 
  2. ^ Walters, Raymond, Jr., New York Times Book Review, July 23, 1972, 43
  3. ^ Bach, Jonathan, "Above the Clouds: A Reunion of Father and Son," (1993) ISBN 0-688-11760-0
  4. ^ "Leslie Parrish (I) Biography". Retrieved 2007-03-13. 

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Richard Bach (born 23 June 1936) is an American author

See also: Jonathan Livingston Seagull



  • Nothing happens by chance, my friend... No such thing as luck. A meaning behind every little thing, and such a meaning behind this. Part for you, part for me, we may not see it all real clear right now, but we will, before long.
    • Nothing by Chance: A Gypsy Pilot's Adventures in Modern America (1969)
  • You have no birthday because you have always lived; you were never born, and never will die. You are not the child of the people you call mother and father, but their fellow-adventurer on a bright journey to understand the things that are.
    • There's No Such Place As Far Away (1978)
  • Fly free and happy beyond birthdays and across forever, and we'll meet now and then when we wish, in the midst of the one celebration that never can end.
    • There's No Such Place As Far Away (1978)
  • Not being known doesn't stop the truth from being true.
    • There's No Such Place As Far Away (1978)
  • If it's never our fault, we can't take responsibility for it. If we can't take responsibility for it, we'll always be its victim.
    • Running from Safety: An Adventure of the Spirit (1994)

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (1977)

  • 11. The Master answered and said "Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river.

    12. "The current of the river swept silently over them all - young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going it's own way, knowing only it's own crystal self.

    13. "Each creature in it's own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.

    14. "But one creature said at last, 'I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.

    15. "The other creatures laughed and said, 'Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed against the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!'

    16. "But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

    17. "Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.

    18. "And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried 'See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah come to save us all!'

    19. "And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Out true work is this voyage, this adventure."

    20. "But they cried the more, 'Savior!' all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Savior."

  • 26. And [the Messiah] said unto them, "If a man told God that he wanted most of all to help the suffering world, no matter the price to himself, and God answered and told him what he must do, should the man do as he is told?"

    27. "Of course, Master!" cried the many. "It should be pleasure for him to suffer the tortures of hell itself, should God ask it!"

    28. "No matter what those tortures, no matter how difficult the task?"

    29. "Honor to be hanged, glory to be nailed to a tree and burned, if so be that God has asked," said they.

    30. "And what would you do," the Master said unto the multitude, "if God spoke directly to your face and said, 'I COMMAND THAT YOU BE HAPPY IN THE WORLD, AS LONG AS YOU LIVE.' What would you do then?"

    31. And the multitude was silent, not a voice, not a sound was heard upon the hillsides, across the valleys where they stood.

  • A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion... this is the place to go now.
    But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.
  • Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours.
  • Don't be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.
  • Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.
  • Everything in this book may be wrong!
  • Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.
  • If you really want to remove a cloud from your life, you do not make a big production out of it, you just relax and remove it from your thinking. That's all there is to it. [page 119]
  • If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.
  • If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem.
  • Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect.
    Then be sure of one thing:
    The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have.
  • In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.
  • Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers.
  • Live never to be ashamed if anything you say or do is published around the world, even if what is said is not true.
  • Perspective— Use It or Lose It. If you turned to this page, you're forgetting that what is going on around you is not reality. Think about that.
  • Remember where you came from, where you're going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place.
  • The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."
  • The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.
  • The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
  • The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.
  • The original sin is to limit the Is. —Don't.
  • The simplest questions are the most profound.
    Where were you born?
    Where is your home?
    Where are you going?
    What are you doing?
    Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change.
  • "There is no problem so big that it cannot be run away from."...
    "You're quoting Snoopy the dog, I believe?"
    "I'll quote the truth wherever I find it thank you."
  • There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.
  • We're all the sons of God, or children of the Is, or ideas of the Mind, or however else you want to say it.
  • You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true.
    You may have to work for it, however.
  • You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.
    Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them.
  • You teach best what you most need to learn.
  • You're going to die a horrible death, remember. It's all good training, and you'll enjoy it more if you keep the facts in mind.
    Take your dying with some seriousness, however. Laughing on the way to your execution is not generally understood by less advanced lifeforms, and they'll call you crazy.
  • Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years.
  • Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a fake messiah.

The Bridge Across Forever (1984)

  • I felt like a moth in a chandelier - all at once there were lots of pretty choices, but I wasn't quite sure where to fly.
  • No one does anything uncharacteristic of who they are.
  • That's what learning is, after all; not whether we lose the game, but how we lose and how we've changed because of it and what we take away from it that we never had before, to apply to other games. Losing, in a curious way, is winning.
  • The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.
  • The music broke from the piano like clear cold water from a prophet-touched rock, pouring and splashing around us while her fingers leaped and spread, curled and stiffened and melted and flickered in magic pass and streaked lightning above the keyboard. Never before had she played for me... because we were lovers now, was she free to play...?
  • The opposite of loneliness, it's not togetherness. It is intimacy.
  • We're the bridge across forever, arching above the sea, adventuring for our pleasure, living mysteries for the fun of it, choosing disasters triumphs challenges impossible odds, testing ourselves over and again, learning love and love and LOVE!

One (1988)

  • Evolution made civilization steward of this planet. A hundred thousand years later, the steward stood before evolution not helper but destroyer, not healer but parasite. So evolution withdrew its gift, passed civilization by, rescued the planet from intelligence and handed it to Love.

External links

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