|Bishop Myriel's |
First, some background. My all-time favorite novel is Victor Hugo's masterpiece. For me, it's more than a story. It ranks next to the Bible as a literary sign and sacrament of God's love for our frail, often broken humanity. No surprise, then, that my most beloved fictional characters are Bishop Charles Francois Myriel and Jean Valjean (in that order).
Over a 25-year novel writing career, I have "fathered" dozens of fictional children. Now, this is where I risk sounding a little bit weird. I have this mystical theory, you see. Its hypothesis is this: every character of fiction created in the mind of an author or original storyteller has a real life in an alternate or parallel universe. I base this on a common phenomenon that fiction writers experience upon completion of their stories. In my case, having lived with my characters for a year--or more--and knowing them as intimately as I do, letting go and moving on sets in motion a grieving process. It's similar to the emotions generated by the loss of a loved one.
My parallel universe theory plays out in There's More (working title), my current work-in-progress. The story begins with Hugo's Bishop Myriel being called from his existence in another realm to serve as companion and guide to Afterlife. A young priest has just died in a freak accident--one that turns out to be a murder. This is not the bishop's first experience in this capacity on Earth, but he considers it the most remarkable.
I can't wait to see the latest earthly incarnations of Bishop Myriel (Colm Wilkinson) and Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman). I wish Director Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) success with Les Miz's most recent rendition. And, in that faraway universe, where our fictional characters live, may the real Myriel and Valjean also delight in it.
(c) 2013 by Alfred J. Garrotto
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