By Paula S. Robin
We are the same person from childhood to death but always in flux. I’m always a little different after deeply moving experiences in this thing called life. I don’t see a change from year to year, yet glancing back through decade after decade, I see what the ebbs and tides have washed away. Don’t get me wrong; I am grateful for what remains. I have always been the same person. Of course, I have moved and flowed with life. I’ve bent with the wind and a push and a shove or two. Yet, I am the same person I have always strived to be inside.
Speaking with a friend recently, our conversation turned to Charlie Brown. Although Charles Schultz began the stroke of his pure genius in the 1950s, the ink in my veins didn’t begin to flow until 1965. My parents read joyfully this epic poem made up entirely of haikus, from the beginning until their days ended here on earth. A pure stroke of genius. I know that most of us are designed to take up as little space on this planet, just as the Peanuts were designed to take up the little space that it did on a printed page. We that breathe step over the lines way too frequently. The Peanut gang were colored in the lines permanently. These characters helped shape who I am today. Thank you.
Even if I absorbed the peanuts secondhand, it was always first generation in my heart. The characters, I could relate to them because they are all narrators of their own stories. If the truth be known, I have always wanted to exist somewhere between my writings and my drawings. I’d be happy living and existing in the liminal space, the space between the transitional or initial stage of a process. I’d love a sign on my door that reads, “if you’re looking for me, I’m somewhere between writing and drawing.” Have you ever been standing on the threshold of two realities?
The word “liminal” is derived from the Latin word “limens,” which means threshold. When you’re interacting with a liminal space, you’re quite literally standing on the threshold between two realities. Charles Schultz stood in the in-between, no doubt. Snoopy, what an incredible cartoon of a friend. Talk about a woman’s best friend. Snoopy made it all happen. Snoopy interacted with a liminal space, while standing in a threshold of reality. So many adults push their children to lean away from fantasy because they think it lacks context and purpose. My parents allowed us to have our heads in the clouds as long as our feet were planted on the ground. Snoopy creator daddy Schultz’s, had him flying high into the sky.
Oh, writer’s block, it’s inescapable. My readers, where have I been? It was just a blink. I’m back. You see, the first thing I ever wrote unexpectedly turned out to be the template for every story I write. The original is always just so good. My first short story has long hung around through the thick and thin of it all. It’s always in the back corner of my mind. My original writings and drawings are the fabric of my being. What’s in yours? What is your original face? Depression and neurosis are not topics that have been given the space they ought to have been. We are all made up of a gamut of sensations and emotions, but only a few are allowed in most spaces.
I allow myself to feel. I embrace pain as a part of this life. I believe you can’t have the resurrection without the crucifixion. Religious or not, it’s a deep thought and great conversation piece. Aren’t we always under a microscope of scrutiny? If it isn’t others scrutinizing us, don’t we just jump in and point fingers at ourselves?
Do you have a past that has a constant presence in your present time? These are the best characters. The best plot lines. They make the best punches. Comedians are famous for living off their past and their present flaws. I’d love to be a comedian. Yes, even today when they aren’t allowed to talk about anything. I’m not saying they should. I’m saying I’d love the challenge to bring joy through laughter. To take someone to another place in time, for just an instance. Writing allows me to keep you at eye level. When you read wisely, don’t you want to stay at eye level with the characters?
Watching Lucy hold that football for Charlie Brown. I wanted to lay on the ground, watching moment by moment narrated details of Charlie Brown’s agony. She will move the ball. I know she will. Yes, I return to the same movie, the same moment, stepping into another reality, hoping that this time she will not move the football. Don’t fall for it. What my mother and father created in me was that life happens in moments. You deal with it then. You move on with hope. You never give up hope. I can say, through it all, that I haven’t given up my sense of humor. My creativeness, the majestic awe, and wonder I feel when out in creation, these are parts of me that I hold on to dearly. Parts handed down to me by my family. I tip my hat to you, Charlie Brown and the gang. You are my hang for life. I bow to great friends, who are there over the hills and through the woods, miles and miles and years apart. I always want to communicate so much with you, with so little, deeply and true. I’m not perfect.
We love to think that we are complicated beings. I must admit I’ve always thought the opposite of myself. It’s looking like I may have turned out to be unfathomably complex. Maybe this was meant to be from the beginning. When we think we know someone, isn’t it true that we often find out that we have just scratched the surface? Even in this simple blog, I wish to communicate so much of how I feel, with you knowing so little about me. Why can’t I live my life inside the four boxes of a Sunday morning cartoon strip?
People often say I’m quite a character. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could tell our life stories in four short frames? Turn the page, sigh; I wish my life was a short, pleasurable read. A read that sits perfectly in your hand, tingling and tantalizing you.