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I Dream of Sparky


I’ve been blessed to meet most of my cartooning heroes in the past 20 years, but I never got to meet Charles “Sparky” Schulz.

Until two nights ago. I had a dream that I found him — he was undercover, hiding from his worldwide fame as the creator of “Peanuts.” He was a schoolbus driver for elementary kids! Somehow I had reason to get on his bus (though my two sons are well out of elementary school now, I may have been there mentally because that’s still my target audience for my comix) and I easily recognized him under his old guy felt cap. He looked like a kindly grandpa and was very quiet — even as he asked me to not reveal his secret. Of course I promised I would not.

It was a great dream. It made me very happy to make that simple connection, standing on the steps of that bus. The day outside the bus was sunny and warm — were we in California, where Schulz the Quiet Minnesotan had found a place to draw his magic? Or had he moved to my town, Williamsburg, like so many other retirees? My dreams are always based in reality — I’m never flying, never shooting through space talking to aliens. I’m chatting with Charlie Brown’s dad!!

A 42-year-old cartoonist dreaming about Charles Schulz is nothing remarkable — my generation of cartoonists grew up chasing his example. I and many of my peers started drawing by copying the Charlie Brown and Snoopy strips we read in the newspaper. I recreated a bunch of them line-for-line and mailed them to Schulz, and some nice secretary mailed me back the form letter you see above. And it was one of the best moments of my life.

Thank goodness Sparky paid for that secretary to crank out those form letters. That simple piece of paper inspired me to keep going, to keep practicing, to believe that my dream of finding a job as a cartoonist could be real. I’ve had plenty of inspirations from many sources to be an Artist, but Schulz was the shining example that you could get a JOB as a CARTOONIST and maybe conquer the world.

And here he was in my dream, giving up the world to live a simple life caretaking children. Which is what he had already done for decades with his cartooning.

From one of those kids, Thanks, Sparky!

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This entry was posted on Saturday, November 28th, 2009 at 8:21 am and is filed under Author's Purpose. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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