I gotta say ol’ freeze-dried Walt Disney (That’s an urban myth by-the-way) was right. It’s a small world after all. The world can be the tiniest place. This becomes evident when Shrinky and I go to a photographic exhibit in our fair metropolis. Then the universe as I know it expands into something that is far, far reaching. We meet Fr N, who turns out to know Mr Q, who in turn knows Mr Hercules, who’s pals with Shrinky.
Everyone knows Mr Hercules. He’s a nice guy. With a cool tat.
Anyhow, what I find interesting is the recurring character, the one I don’t see that often, the one who pops up in my life. Sort like what happens on some TV shows.
As it happens, Jennie Garth is going to reprise her role as Kelly on some 90210 spin-off–I think it’s West Beverly 90210. now, it’s been a while since the original 90210 was on the tube, but what the hell. It was 18 years between Star Trek and its first spin off, Star Trek the Next Generation, so why not. She’s a recurring character, why not let her pop up in West Beverley since that happens in real life?
Then there’s John Munch, who’s kind of the people magnet Shinky is. Richard Belzer’s been playing Munch since Homicide: Life on the Street since 1993. Consirpracy theory-loving Munch popped up on Law & Order, The X-Files, then he wound up on Law & Order SVU, a spin off, while making appearances on The Wire, The Beat, and Arrested Development. Hell, there’s an entire Wiki all about the John “the government killed Kennedy” Munch. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Munch). That’s just plain fun. I bet Belzer has a blast playing Munch and probably enjoys being the only fictional TV character to have appeared on so many different shows. His ninth cameo is coming up soon. I’m not sure if he’s appeared in a novel as of yet, but that can’t be far behind. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for him to show up somewhere in my life.
TV’s not alone in this. Novels have been doing this for years. Lots of authors use the few degrees of separation thing. As with life, I like when characters touch novels. Susan Elizabeth Phillips does the character crossover thing in her Bonner Bros/Chicago Stars series. Elizabeth Lowell does it too, but her ‘series’ are characters the way John Munch is. Her worlds coexist, rather than span time.
I dig that groove. I’ve been doing that since I started writing. Like an outing with Shrinky, I embrace the itty-bittiness of my imaginary world and the way people overlap. So, from my very first hugombous and dreadful novel to the current one, some character has a bit part or overlap Sometimes it’s noticable, occasionally it’s a mere mention that someone knows someone who knows Kevin Bacon–or Shrinky.
Meanwhile, as Shrinky and I make our way around the social scene, I’m expecting John Munch to put in an appearance. I’m sure he knows someone who knows someone who knows Mr Hercules.