In my younger days, maybe one of the most influential cartoons in both animation and series was Peanuts. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy and the whole Peanuts gang impressed me so much and the way Charles Schulz represented adults was so incredibly fitting – the muted trumpet-like utterances that sounded nothing like speech were more akin to how a kid lost in his or her own world might hear voices of supposed authority. So possibly by association “Linus and Lucy”, commonly referred to as the Peanuts Theme Song, still instantly reminds me of innocence and playtime.
Instead of producing a new sketch today, I am sharing likely the oldest picture I have of my early artwork. As you can see, someone else documented when I made this candid moment in Snoopy and Woodstock’s history. Every Peanuts cartoon and strip always conveyed a heartfelt message that only Charles Schulz knew how to communicate. I was so inspired by Peanuts that in 5th grade I did a report on how the depiction of Charlie Brown evolved over the years. Then in 12th grade, I wrote a short paper where, if I remember correctly, Lucy conducted an entertaining interview with Charles Schulz. That paper got me the best grade I received in that class.
To this day, Peanuts still has a special way of getting to the core of things that leaves me feeling a little wiser for having read it. There is something about kid characters that jumps to the deeper meaning of things in a simple way where adult characters always make things complicated. This week of learning about new animals and revisiting child-like songs I’ve learned of over the course of my life has reminded me of the simple gifts we have as children. An earnestness and purity of heart rings through so clearly when we’re young, and somehow as we get older all these little nuances get added into the mix and our brains become fascinated by the wordy complexity.
While the challenges of complexity can be fun, I’m starting to prefer the simple projections of my heart and doing my best to let it be expressed with its full naive voice. It may get me into trouble from time to time or may even hurt me for being more honest, and yet this is all I want in life – simple loving truth that I can look back on and see that I got the message clear and easy for anyone to understand. Maybe more of us want this too, and just maybe it’s attainable if we let out that inner kid who’s absent of pretension, full of curiosity, and speaks directly from the heart.
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“Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi