Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Messing with Destiny
My writer friend Rex and I joke about how an author can feel as if one of his characters has taken on a "life of his own" and leads the plot in an unforeseen direction. "Who'se in charge here?" we chuckle.
This time, I wish the character Sid Halley would tell the author Felix Francis to "Bug off and leave me alone!"
Some of you know that my favorite books are the Dick Francis mystery series taking place in the milieu of British horse racing. I have learned much from Francis' heros and try to emulate their qualities in my life. Sid Halley is one of my favorites.
He is a famous and beloved jockey whose hand (and career) is shattered and left useless in a fall on the track. What emerges is a character who must leave "all of it" behind, including a wife who never understood his devotion to danger. Alone and crippled, his stories begin.
Dick Francis died a few years ago and his son Felix took over the writing. Felix's books are okay but only as an echo. Now, in what I think must be some father/son pathology, Felix is giving Sid a hand transplant! He is making him whole. Shame!
Should the phantom get a new face? What about the "one-armed man?' Is Nero Wolfe going to have by-pass surgery?
Or, am I being selfish to want Sid to continue to triumph (as he always does) using the empathy he develops to such an endearing degree because of his imperfect self.