It was a dark and stormy night. Okay, I know. It’s purported to be the worst opening line ever used in fiction writing. I just happen to love the Peanuts cartoons in which Mr. Schulz had Snoopy sitting at the typewriter and trying out various first lines. He always settles on the much maligned “It was a dark and stormy night” configuration, to the consternation of Lucy and several others. I’m with Snoopy. Go with what you know.
So, while the wind cracks and the lightning wails outside…no, no. Scratch that…turn those around. Anyway, I do want to spend a few moments in consideration of one or two more original thoughts. Perhaps, I’ll even be able to get them arranged in a rational order as I peck along at the keyboard. You’ll be the Lucy to my Snoopy and may critique away, as you choose. I just realized that this blog is turning three hundred…posts old, that is. Yes, ’tis true. I’ve frittered away three hundred perfectly good late nights as I’ve regurgitated my thoughts and memories for you. One of my favorite critics told me recently that he thought I had “hit my stride”. For some reason, I’d always believed that I had actually hit the ground running, but now, I’m fairly sure that one or two (maybe even a hundred) of these posts have been more than a little clumsy and inept, much as Snoopy’s attempts at novel writing. I’m grateful that you’ve stuck with me.
I never could understood why Mr. Schulz had Snoopy labor so hard at writing without success, nor why it was that Charlie Brown, again and again, attempted to kick the football as Lucy held it and pulled it away at the last minute. He pursued the Little Red-Haired Girl without ever coming close to winning her, and pitched the baseball (badly) without success as his team deserted him and rain drenched the pitcher’s mound. One would almost think that the Peanuts comic strip was written about losers. But, as I consider it, I’m fairly certain that a comic strip about losers would never have had the popularity that the Peanuts series did. Charles Schulz drew and authored the strip for over forty-nine years to continued popular acclaim. Although he died in early 2000, the reruns of the cartoons still appear in countless daily newspapers to this day. Just as the author himself identified with the characters he brought to life, readers still see their own struggles and defeats, as well as the courage to get up and do it all again tomorrow.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have no illusions of greatness, no thoughts that my silly posts rival (or ever could) the import of those amusing and thought-provoking little cartoon characters. No, I’m thinking that I’m more like Snoopy himself, dragging out the old Remington typewriter over and over, indefatigable in his intent to write. Let the critics turn up their collective noses. He wrote. Again and again. Certainly, he wrote badly. I can identify. But, he thought a little and wrote a little, then thought a little more before writing a little more. As the complete sentence was born, he opined, “Good writing is hard work.” While I can’t claim the “good” part of that, I can certainly attest to the fact that writing is hard work. But, I’m taking my cue from Snoopy and keeping at it. You will have to be the judge of the result.
You should be advised. I will keep at this. I have no great hope of becoming famous, which is a good thing. I simply aspire to be like those lovable non-losers, Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and even Linus with his kite-flying fiascoes. They stand as monuments to getting up and trying again. It’s a goal that should be within reach.
Losing a battle is not the same as being defeated. The Apostle had it right when he described us as “struck down, but not destroyed.” Where there’s life, there’s hope.
Fair warning: Number three hundred and one is on the way…
“Yesterday, I was a dog. Today, I’m still a dog. Tomorrow, I’ll probably still be a dog. [Sigh] There’s so little hope for advancement.”
(Snoopy~created by Charles M Schulz~American cartoonist~1922-2000)
“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”