It may seem odd that the creator of a comic strip can be a literary inspiration, to me they are some of the best. Before there was Twitter, there were comic strips. Just a few boxes with some still images and a few conversation bubbles in which a message was delivered. Among my favorites is Charles M. Schulz and his plucky band of kids known as Peanuts. With the most recognizable protagonist, Charlie Brown.
In my childhood home, we didn't take the weekly or daily paper. My exposure to the comics came from my maternal grandparents who lived for the daily paper. When we were visiting my brother and I couldn't wait to read the comics, especially the Sunday ones, as they were in color.
Yet, you didn't need a newspaper to know about Charles M. Schulz world of Peanuts. The beloved characters and their experiences could be found in paperback books, and annual television shows. With one read or viewing, they became part of your family. The genius of the series was the human characteristics of all of us played out in one dimensional hand drawn kids. From bossy know it alls, to the down in the dumps lead, every option was available. Though we could see ourselves in slivers of each character, we all often found ourselves commiserating with Charlie Brown as he innocently made his way through a complicated and confusing world.
The beauty of Schulz work was the life lessons we were fed while lost in the delight of his art and storytelling. The other day I tried to find a Peanuts book at the bookstore. They were all out. I sensed an era was past. As I climbed in my car, I was grateful to know we still own a full collection of Charlie Brown Christmas comic book. Hardbound and shiny blue.
If you find, as you head into the holiday season, that there isn't much time to read. Take a few minutes and look up Peanuts comic strips. Or grab thirty minutes and watch one of the movies before bed. It will make your day.
Thank you, Charles M. Schulz!