Originally posted by Richard Bach:
Note: What you are about to read is pure fiction. Any similarity between the characters in the following story and anyone else, living or dead, is pure coincidence. The story is a fable, with a moral, strictly for those readers who enjoy fables or morals. It is not a true story.
A FICTION STORY:
Once there was a husband and wife, Roger and Susan. Roger wrote a book about their adventures, part fiction but a lot of non-fiction, too. Then one day Roger and Susan discovered that each wanted a different future, he to continue to fly and write, she to rest from the constantly increasing workload of managing many books in many editions and languages around the world. She had the right to choose a quiet future, he had a right to choose an active one, and neither wished to force the other to live as they did not want to live.
After careful thought, after countless discussions, and for reasons that at last made perfect sense to each of them, the two separated and divorced, wishing love and happiness to each other. Susan made one request, however: She asked Roger please never mention her name on his website. Unless she chose to write about herself, she said, and unless readers chose to buy her books, what she did in her private life was nobody's business but her own. Roger agreed. A reader's right to know a writer's personal choices stops at the last page of any writer's book.
So Roger promised not to mention her name, and the two went their ways, each grateful to the other for powerful lessons learned from their long marriage.
Most readers know that the end of a marriage is an enormously complex event, and his readers trusted that Roger and Susan probably had not taken this step one afternoon on a lark, for the fun of it, because they had nothing else to do.
A tiny fraction of visitors to his website, though, did not accept the news, nor did they recognize that Susan had a right to live her own quiet life. These few badgered poor Roger: "Where's Susan? How dare you separate? We trusted you when you said that you loved each other, and by divorcing you have shattered our world! Your books, once truth, are now lies! We shall never believe in love again -- we hate you both, and everything you stand for!"
While he realized that his readers were free to hate, Roger also realized his mistake. He had forgotten to remind that last one-thousandth of one percent of his readers that each is an independent person, responsible for her or his own independent choices. He had forgotten, in the book about his life with Susan, to insert one last sentence:
Everything in this book may be wrong.