Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dick Francis: My Inspiration

One winter Sunday afternoon when I was twelve I found myself with nothing to do. It was too cold to do much outside (even for us Minnesotans), and I had already played with the dog, brushed the cat, done my homework, and found nothing of interest on the three channels that passed for television back then. It was one of a handful of times in my life when I have been utterly bored. Then my mother changed my life forever.

I was sitting in a chair in the living room when my mother came out of the room we shared with a book in her hand. Now, I was a voracious reader and at twelve was reading well above my years, but I had not yet bumped into a real grown-up novel. Until now. "I think you might be ready for this," she said. And then she handed me a Dick Francis novel. I read the first sentence and was so hooked that I knew right then that I wanted to be a writer.

For the uninitiated, Dick Francis, a British author who was a former steeplechase jockey, rode for, among other clients, the Queen mother. His forty-two mysteries combined, horses, intrigue, love, and dysfunctional families, and I thought I had never read anything nearly as good. I still feel that way.

I had the good fortune to meet this award-winning author, my hero, in Nashville in the mid-1980s, when he came to town for a steeplechase event that was being held at Percy Warner Park. I rarely get star-struck, but I have to admit that I was quite nervous when we met. We chatted a few minutes about the weather, the race, Nashville, and his books, and I told him he was the reason I became a writer. He became quite flustered, but also shook my hand heartily and wished me well.

Dick Francis passed away recently at age 89, and his is a loss felt around the world. Many of us never get to meet our heroes, our inspirations. I was lucky.

Everyone needs someone to admire, to look up to. So who has inspired you? Who influenced your life? Your career? I hope you can post a comment and tell who means as much to you, and why.


dgbfoundation said...


Since no one else is commenting I thought I would take a chance and be the first.

I have a lot of heros and have had a very fortunate life, until last April 23rd....I know that I don't know you and I have only read a little about your story and experiences. I would love do what you do! So in a way you are my hero.

You are also my hero, because in the midst of your pain as a bereaved mother you are finding a way to be positive and encourage others.

My husband and I lost our infant son to SIDS in April of last year. I could never have imagined anything more painful. Our story is still under construction....but I have started to try to put it in words at and

Thank you for being an inspiration. I would love to meet you or talk to you some time.

Peace and Hope,

Lisa Wysocky said...

Hi Christy,

I am so very sorry to hear of the tragic loss of your baby boy, but am so glad to hear you are channeling your pain in such a positive way! There is much we can do to help ourselves heal, and also help others along the way and you are on the right path. You can always email me at