Posts Tagged ‘Dog’

On October 2, 1950, “Peanuts” comic strip featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and their friends first appeared in 8 newspapers. Written and drawn by Charles M. Schultz, “Peanuts” was published for nearly 50 years. The final daily version of the strip was published on Jan 3, 2000, and its creator passed away on February 12, 2000. Oddly enough, the final original Sunday “Peanuts” comic strip was published the day after Charles Schultz’s death.

I grew up reading “Peanuts,” and still enjoy it in reprints and on television specials. Good old Charlie Brown, the meek anti-hero of the comic strip, called out to those of us who understood his lack of self-confidence. We admired his determined  persistence in the face of almost certain failure. Charlie Brown couldn’t fly a kite; he managed and played on a baseball team that didn’t win. He endlessly tried to punt a football only to have Lucy pull it away. He got rocks for Halloween, picked a straggly Christmas tree, served a sub-par Thanksgiving dinner, and had an empty mailbox on Valentine’s Day. Charlie Brown represented all of us who weren’t the “popular kids” at school.

The other character I identified with was Snoopy. Yes, I know he’s a dog – but a dog of superior intelligence with a rich imagination. Snoopy’s thought bubbles revealed the multiple and fascinating lives he lived in his imagination. He was not just a beagle — he was a World War I flying ace, Joe Cool on a college campus, a hockey player, Olympic figure skater, grocery clerk, and astronaut. Snoopy was also a Scout leader for his buddy Woodstock and his feathered friends.

But my favorite imaginary Snoopy role was best-selling novelist. Perhaps it was because I, too, dreamed of writing that best-selling book. As soon as I saw Snoopy sitting by his typewriter, I knew I’d like the comics that day. And I always smiled when I saw the first line from the 1830 novel “Paul Clifford” written by Englishman Edward Bulwer-Lytton: “It was a dark and stormy night…”

So Happy Birthday Snoopy & Charlie Brown! And thank you, Charles Schultz. You have made millions smile, given a voice to the underdog, and celebrated those who daydream. This evening, I shall do a brief, but enthusiastic Happy Snoopy Dance, then sit in front of my keyboard to try to write that best-selling novel.

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As another ice storm approaches Wood’s Edge, I haul seed out by the bucketful to the wild birds perched on the branches of the trees and shrubs at the forest’s edge. Even with coat, hat, boots, and gloves, I shiver. I glance up at the heavy gray sky before filling the feeders. The chickadees, juncoes, wrens, cardinals, blue jays, red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, nuthatches, and tufted titmice (titmouses?) bravely swoop down and clothespin themselves to the perches of nearby feeders as I fumble with the first suet basket. Crows caw from the fence rail, several woodpeckers hop down the tree trunks, and a solitary hawk watches the goings-on with much interest.

 Meanwhile, Sandy the Black-mouthed Cur is bounding through the drifts, grabbing mouthfuls of snow, and rolling with abandon in the loose, fluffy snow in the corner of the yard. Joyful is the only word to describe her behavior. She looks at me, eyes bright, muzzle whitened by snow, tail wagging so hard the rear half of her body has joined its back & forth motion, and woofs. A playful woof that seems to say: The world is wonderful and isn’t it great to be alive!

Last winter seemed to be a long string of snowstorms. This winter appears to be much the same. I get lots of writing and drawing done it’s true, but I miss morning walks. Ice is not something I choose to tread upon when trying to manage an enthusiastic 60-pound dog. And tonight we expect more ice. 

But even as I cringe at the thought of another month of bad weather (and I suspect we shall get another month’s worth of frozen precipitation whether or not that famous Pennsylvania groundhog sees his shadow) — I think of crocuses and the sound of spring peepers. And since Sandy has only been with me since last June, I secretly wonder what she’ll think of frogs!

 And so, I share a quote from Anne Bradstreet: “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.” Indeed!  And if we had no winter, Sandy the Black-mouthed Cur would surely miss the snow.

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 Vonnie pic2  It’s me, Vonnie Winslow Crist.  I’m a writer of science fiction, fantasy, dark fantasy (yes, that’s a nice way of saying horror), poetry, essays, reviews, and “The Writer’s Block Column” for Harford’s Heart Magazine: www.harfordsheart.com  
   I’ve been lucky this year, I’ve had quite a few acceptances for my stories and poems — though most haven’t been printed or posted yet.  Sigh.  This is where patience comes in. 
   Of course, I’ve had my share of rejections in 2009, too.  When the story or poem I’ve sent off to a publisher comes back with a “No Thank You” note attached — I take a deep breath, retype the work, and submit it to another market.  This is where persistance comes in.
   Between the highs of acceptance and the lowers of rejection, there is the day-to-day writing.  Sometimes, the words come so fast that my fingers can’t keep up with my imagination.  At other times, it’s hard to focus on the computer screen much less type more than a few words.  The sun shines through the window.  The garden calls.  The cat keeps trying to crawl into my lap.  The dog wants to go outside.  The phone rings.  This is where discipline and determination come in.
My message for today: If you have a dream (being a writer is mine): Be patient. Persist. Be determined. Discipline yourself to work. Oh, and have fun while you’re pursuing your dream! (If you want to read some of my writing or view some of my artwork: www.vonniewinslowcrist.com )

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