First Sign of the Foobacalypse
When I got to Snoopy, I realized one of his catch phrases was “It was a dark and stormy night” for Snoopy’s famous unfinished novel. I remember the sequences where Lucy van Pelt would offer Snoopy constructive criticism and Snoopy would adapt her comments into his material, usually with a joke. These sequences were adapted into a children’s book by Charles Schultz called Snoopy’s “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night”. It was published long after I stopped picking up Peanuts collection books, so I was unaware of it until I found a copy of it sitting in the my son’s physical therapist’s office. It was not a very good children’s book, but it made for some good reading for a long-time Peanuts fan. The interesting thing was that Charles Schultz, using Snoopy, was actually able to give his readers more of a feel for how novels are written than Lynn Johnston did with Michael Patterson’s current storyline. Snoopy’s novel was rejected and edited. Mike’s shows no signs of either. The funny part is that while Snoopy was never going to be taken seriously as an author and Michael Patterson is, Snoopy’s author showed a more realistic portrayal of the writing business.
Tomorrow’s monthly letters should be interesting because there is some disparity between the letters and strip over the story of Michael’s novel.
In the strip, on Christmas Eve Michael rescued his only 2 copies of his book he has been writing since September. There is no mention of publisher, or deadlines or anything of the sort like that. The impression you get is that Michael has submitted his book to a publisher and they sent back a contract one month later.
In the letters, Michael has been writing the book for over 16 months, but failed to mention it in his own monthly letters until September, when it showed up in the strip. He has been submitting chapters of his book all along to his publisher and they have been edited as he has been submitting them. On Christmas Eve, Michael only really rescued the final chapter of his book, as he had been sending each chapter to his mother and the publisher as a backup. He was due to deliver the completed novel in October, but the publisher extended the deadline because they knew Michael was “living” the story, i.e. fantasizing about Sheilagh 24 hours a day.
Those are 2 very different perspectives, but they are a really a moot point now. Michael got his $25,000 advance, so the next question is what he is going to do with it. We know ultimately, Michael will buy the house from Elly and John and they will move to the teeny-tiny train house with April. The problem now is Elizabeth. She could move into her own place, and I think we have seen some strips which would justify that move, but on the other hand, there is the whole business with Anthony Caine. If he proposes on Valentine’s Day, as many suspect, then I don’t see Elizabeth moving out of Sharon Park Drive until after her wedding day. But if she doesn’t move out, then that causes problems with Elly selling the house to Mike. As I see it, it could go in these directions:
1. Elly, John and April move out. Elizabeth stays in as a renter until she marries Anthony.
2. Elizabeth gets a place of her own until she gets married.
3. The actual house purchase is postponed for awhile, until the situation with Elizabeth is resolved.
What I think is Mike’s actual next move is to be strong-armed by his mother and wife to quit his job at Portrait Magazine, since he has proved he can make a living as an author and with his freelance work. I think the housing situation will not resolve itself until Elizabeth and Anthony have been dealt with.
Tomorrow’s strip: I suppose we will hear all about the likelihood of a first time novelist getting the right of first refusal from all the authors populating the various For Better or For Worse commenting boards. Clinically depressed and self-absorbed Elizabeth Patterson is unable to muster a congratulations for her brother. Robin Patterson remains hidden from view as we have still yet to see the entire house full of all the Pattersons. And much to my amazement, we actually see John Patterson holding a grandchild for 2 panels. I find that part more shocking than anything else. It’s one thing for Liz to be a selfish twit and Mike to be undeservedly successful, but John holding a grandchild? It’s unheard of, except in the FBoFW website pictures focusing on John.