Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Art With a Pulse

If you blog at all, or follow bloggers, you may have noticed a challenge that's going around, for bloggers to post a new entry every day from A to Z. When one of the teen writers I mentor (shout-out to Spiral!) joined in on the challenge, she decided her posts would have the theme "Persons: Real and Imagined." That sounded like a great theme. I've modified it for myself to just be imagined persons, my favorite characters from books, TV, and film.

So for the next 26 days (I hope), I'll be telling you about some of my favorite fictional characters. Today is A. I narrowed it down from 5 choices.

A is for Archie Sheridan

Archie Sheridan is the main character in Chelsea Cain's thrillers about the pursuit of serial killer Gretchen Lowell. Archie is a Portland, Oregon detective who was manipulated, seduced, abducted, and tortured by Gretchen Lowell while he was on the task force pursuing her. Their relationship is strange and twisted and so layered. Gretchen herself doesn't interest me because psychopaths aren't really deep characters--when someone has no emotions, they're just not very interesting. :P It's Archie who fascinates me. Archie, who, in spite of all he's been through, including the destruction of his marriage, the decimation of his health, and the deterioration of his mind, still does not really hate Gretchen. He still finds himself attracted to her.

Characters who are not easy to figure out, who have depth and layers, are my favorites. I cannot begin to fathom how Archie's mind works, how he can reconcile his attraction to Gretchen with his law enforcement background and his knowledge of the horrible things she's done, to him and others. So I find him absolutely fascinating.

. . . and also for Augustus Waters

I couldn't find quotes from Chelsea Cain's books about Archie Sheridan because the ones I own are in storage and there isn't much online, so I'm strengthening this short entry with one more character, Augustus Waters.

Have you read The Fault in Our Stars? You haven't? Then what are you still doing here? Just go read it. Now.

Okay, now that you've read John Green's YA masterpiece, we can talk about Augustus Waters. Gus (I feel weird calling him Augustus—only Hazel does that) is not the POV character in the tale of two teenage cancer patients finding love in a support group. Hazel is. But so much of the story is about Gus’s own inward journey. He hides behind bluster and wit and the cigarettes he doesn’t actually smoke, but he provides some of the story’s best insights, as when he tells off another character, “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you.”

When John Green spoke at Carnegie Hall earlier this year, he talked about Esther Earl, a young fan who lost her own battle with cancer and inspired aspects of the story, and he talked about his own time serving as a chaplain at a children’s hospital, and he said this: “The real hero’s journey is not, as I had always believed, the journey from weakness to strength. What Esther knew, and what Augustus Waters must learn in The Fault in Our Stars, is that the real hero’s journey is the journey from strength to weakness.”

Tomorrow: a groundbreaking TV icon . . . who kills vampires . . .


  1. Yay Augustus! And by the way, the font size is rather small on this lovely blog of yours--setting it up one or two points would make it much much easier to read :)

  2. Noted! (Did you know they're making TFiOS a movie? Hazel has already been casting, and they're looking for an Augustus now.)

  3. It seems changing the font size would involve editing the HTML, and HTML makes zero sense to me.