- Ann Schwarz
- I'm a published author of short fiction for kids and adults. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. I'm a former content writer for Spirit and Truth publishing on their Living the Word series. I've also worked as a paid book reviewer and as a student editor for The Louisville Review literary magazine. I'm a wife and mom to two great kids, three dogs, and a cat. I love books, movies, gardening, kids, and animals.
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Also, we often idealize the new, forgetting that with the return of warmer weather come those annoying little natty bugs. The ones that make it hard to enjoy the sunshine as they try to fly up your nose or into your mouth. .
So, this season of lent, a good time of self reflection, I am trying to continually remind myself to enjoy the moment and appreciate the positives of winter. For instance, even though it too cold to be outside for very long this means it's a good time to enjoy indoor pleasures without feeling guilty. These include watching my favorite shows on TV and whittling down my to-be-read pile of books.
Another good thing about this season of cold, wet, sometimes snowy weather is the fact you can get your exercise indoors where no one can see you. This has the added advantage of not having to worry about sunscreen, bug spray, or how smoothly shaven your legs may be beforehand. Instead of giving something up for lent I agreed to be committed to getting in some sort of physical fitness six days out of the week.
So far I'm doing pretty good with my lenten promises. Though, I did grumble some about the snow as it came pouring down on Sunday. It didn't detract from my holiday, though. In fact, it probably helped me appreciate a day at home with my family more. We actually enjoyed a nice steak dinner at the table together. A luxury we're usually too busy to enjoy.
This winter, whether you observe lent or not. Whether the weather is bad outside or not, take the time to concentrate on the positives longer evenings and shorter days offer. It will be spring and the season of renewal soon enough.
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
|Picture taken of my son's DVD|
What word do you usually associate with Charles Schulz's character, Charlie Brown? Is it blockhead or is it maybe failure?
This past December the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon based on Schulz's comic strip Peanuts celebrated it's 50th anniversary. Around the same time, a new movie came out about the Peanuts featuring the lovable odd ball, Charlie Brown. As I was watching the movie and listening to discussions about the Christmas special I pondered why it is that someone who never seems to succeed at anything has such an enduring legacy.
Let's consider a few things we know about this unlikely hero. First, he owns a funny, beagle with delusions of grandeur who is sometimes anything but Charlie's best friend. Second, Charlie's team has never won a single baseball game. Third, his therapist, Lucy is openly greedy, bossy, often mean, and highly narcissistic. Despite all of these challenges, Charlie Brown continues to play baseball, remains ever hopeful he will one day kick that football Lucy is always offering to hold for him, without being invisible to do it, and loves his dog despite his strange behavior.
Charlie Brown represents a lot of things to people, but the one thing he is in every incarnation is an underdog. A very sympathetic underdog. Even though he is considered to be a hopeless failure or as Lucy likes to call him a "blockhead" by most of his peers in the cartoons and comics, he isn't one. In fact, Charlie Brown is an enduring symbol of hope and success for everyone who has ever felt that they just didn't get it or at one time or another didn't quite fit in. Why is this? He never seems to come out the clear victor or hero in any of his story lines.
Because Charlie Brown is true to one person, always. He doesn't follow the popular or accepted path in anything. He sees beauty in tiny, spindly trees and chooses them over the beautiful and elaborate fake ones. He flies kites in the middle of winter in the hopes they won't get caught in the kite stealing tree. When he finally gains acclaim in the recent Peanuts movie, he could continue to let people believe the fiction. He could accept the awards and adulation, it would be easier to do that and finally manage to impress the "little red-headed girl" he has such a crush on. But he doesn't. He admits a mistake was made in front of everyone and goes back to being unpopular and unappreciated.
Charlie Brown never takes the easy path or makes the obvious choice toward acceptance. And he is repeatedly ridiculed for it. But children and adults alike continue to love him because he always does what is right or seems right to him. That is why Charlie Brown is such a hero and such an enduring success. He is always true to himself. He excels at being authentic, kind, even when it isn't warranted, and hopeful for the future. In a clever and subtle way that is the genius of Charles Schulz's creation. He isn't preachy or obvious about his character's attributes. In fact, he goes to great lengths to drown them out under the weight of all Charlie Brown's many flaws. Charlie Brown is far from perfect, but he is genuine.
It is easy to let the world weigh us down and make us feel like we shouldn't try, shouldn't hope, or shouldn't love who we are as individuals. Charlie Brown epitomizes this over and over again. Yet, in spite of this he keeps his optimistic spirit and continues to muddle through, ever positive in the end that next time things will work out in his favor. When the world makes you feel like you're a Charlie Brown sort of person, own it as a banner of success. If you've earned that status being true to yourself or doing what was right instead of easy, it means you've probably become an unlikely hero in your own story.