Charlez Shulz never considered himself a writer. In fact, he willingly accepted the view that comic strips were often considered a rudimentary art form. This didn’t stop him from working hard and realizing that true solace came to him when sitting in his studio pondering what Charlie Brown and his band of friends were up to next.
Thomas Inge edits and introduces the beautiful compilation of prose from Schulz in the book, My Life with Charlie Brown, rich with autobiographical articles, lectures and ramblings about his life’s work, religion, art and finding themes from his childhood misery.
Schulz on His Schooling and How to Inspire Kids
Although some of his writings provide memories of brief successes in school, his true takeaway was that both good and bad experiences can send a kid towards great things.
Choosing Joy Over a Commercialization Debate
When discussing how many people accused him of over-commercializing his work, Schulz gave a powerful take on what work is really about.
The Link Between Sadness and Humor
This view has a stunning parallel to how comedic artists are often the most troubled of us all.
Being Grateful for Talent and Feeling Like a Dentist
Closure is a beautiful thing with any vocation, and Schulz’s visuals of closing up shop like a dentist is a feeling to aspire towards.
Sadness in the Mortality of Loved Ones
The support of his parents was clearly a strong motivating factor in how Schulz succeeded at his work, but he also reflects on the sadness he still felt long after his mother passed.
A Glimpse into His Creation Process
Schulz reminisces about a dog name Spike he had when he was thirteen. This black and white pup turned out to be the inspiration for Snoopy.
Coming Face to Face with Loneliness
Schulz included several instances of the Peanuts kids at summer camp, and these ideas came from the fact that he had no desire as a kid to go to summer camp. He compared it to being drafted in the army–an army that brought about much solitude.
Schulz explains how he worries about many aspects of his life, and because of that, Charlie Brown had to worry as well.
He credits the source of most of his problems from his time in the army, during which he found it unbearable, with the lack of timetable and wondering if the war would go on forever. However, Schulz found a sense of calm at some points.
The Roots of Charlie Brown
Schulz is quick to acknowledge that much of his inspiration, at least many of the names he used in the Peanuts strips, stemmed from people he knew.
Every Artist Needs at Least One Proud Creation
Although he claimed that he never had a single favorite story or comic strip, Schulz still showed that some pieces of art are more gratifying than others, regardless of how much notoriety they get or even how much they connect with the audience.
Despite the deep thought and intertwined maturity he brought to a comic strip about children, Schulz never saw himself as an intellectual. He catered to the average person, the hard-working individual who raised a family and chuckled about misfortunes in school, on the golf course and while at work. This is what made him unique.
Share your thoughts on what Charles Schulz has to say about his creative spirit in the comments section below. Feel free to check out the My Life with Charlie Brown book for an often lighthearted, sometimes heartbreaking, and always thought-provoking read.