Sunday, April 19, 2009
My man Travis
For many years, I’ve had it bad for a tall, tan, sandy-haired guy with pale grey eyes. His name is Travis McGee and just thinking about him makes me smile….a mischievous, world weary, be-still-my-heart smile.
Travis is an intelligent, introspective man. One of the things I like best about him is that he loves – and respects – women. You know you would be safe with him. He works as a salvage consultant, which is similar to a bounty hunter, except he finds things instead of people.
Typically that work puts him in direct contact with mean folks who like to bully, swindle and cheat already down trodden people. So what fuels Travis is honor, obligation and outrage.
Unfortunately Travis is a work of fiction. He came from the imagination of John D. MacDonald. But fortunately, that allowed me to have a satisfying relationship with McGee for over twenty years. I probably couldn’t say that if he was flesh and blood.
MacDonald is also a hero to me -- a legend in writing circles. Respected, honored, copied, critically-acclaimed and successful. His career spanned decades, including 21 McGee novels, and his work elevated the genre of crime novels. He’s known to have influenced admirers from Elmore Leonard to Stephen King to Jimmy Buffet. And his books challenged the changing landscape of Florida long before the general public was conversant with the concept of environmentalism.
As my contribution to Mellow Yellow Monday, I’m featuring the cover of MacDonald’s novel, “One Fearful Yellow Eye”. All of the McGee novels contain a color and I’m happy to say, I have every color published.
Additionally, I dedicate this post to my fellow blogger and crime writer, Cormac. He doesn’t list MacDonald on his blog and I want to change that.
A short excerpt from “One Fearful Yellow Eye”:
I have to keep remembering at all times that sweet little old lady on the veranda in Charleston, South Carolina, the one who told me the story of her life in a sighing little voice, story so sad that my eyes were misty and my voice thick by the time she shot at me with the Luger she was holding in her lap under the corner of her shawl. The slug took a little bit out of the side of the collar of my white shirt and exposed a dime-sized piece of blue necktie.