While success came as a surprise to cartoonist Lynn Johnston, she didn't start the comic strip For Better or For Worse to be a failure either.
This sentence is a little out of order and probably should have followed the quote from Charles Schulz below for it to make more sense.
"When she started writing and drawing the comic strip in the isolated community of Lynn Lake, Man., her goal was to create something worth reading.
I thought her goal was to meet her deadline. However, I am pleased that Lynn did not start off by saying that was her great contribution to comics.
"Success was a shock," she said. "On the other hand, as Charles Schulz (who created the comic strip Peanuts) used to say, 'I don't start something to be a failure.'" Johnston said having regular deadlines forced her to work hard.
Oh well. At least she waited until a few sentences in before she mentioned the glorious deadline.
"I was going to give it all I had. If I couldn't do it, it wasn't because I didn't do the best I could possibly do. The fact that it did well was wonderful."
Standard “I did the best I could” line, which typically comes out of Lynn’s mouth when she feels she has been accused of making a mistake, or when she has turned in really bad work, which is obviously not her best. It's kind of strange she said it here, making me wonder what the interviewer's question was.
She also recognized that part of her success came from timing. She started writing For Better or For Worse in 1979 when there was nothing else celebrating the life of a woman and her family.
Awkwardly phrased and kind of inaccurate. This interviewer is not the best writer.
"I was in the trenches with the diapers and the frustration," she said.
Mainly the frustration.
Johnston was interviewed following her speech this week at Dress for Success Vancouver's first recognition lunch, held at the Hotel Georgia. More than 100 women were at the sold-out fundraiser. The keynote speaker was Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide, who is based in New York.
More than a 100 and it’s sold out? I suppose they should have picked a larger venue and made more money. I suppose they didn't know how much of a draw Lynn Johnston would be.
Johnston said she first heard about Dress for Success while watching television.
And they have programs about Vancouver charities shown on the TV in Corbeil? There are 3 locations in Ontario, in Toronto, Kingston, and Ottawa. The only reason Lynn is in Vancouver is because Aaron is there, otherwise she could have picked a place closer to home. I am not sure why she doesn’t mention her son.
She said she loved the idea of an organization that helps women pre-pare for their first job interview by providing clothing and help with hair and makeup. When Dress for Success clients get a job, they're also provided with a small wardrobe.
This interviewer is copying off the publicity material. Ick.
"I thought 'What a fabulous idea,'" she said. "I just know myself how difficult it is to present yourself to an employer. You don't look at the mirror and see yourself - you look in the mirror and compare yourself to others. I don't think it's ever been more competitive as it is now."
Is Lynn talking about the competition in presenting yourself to an employer, or the trouble with being single?
She traced her interest in giving back to the community and giving away her money to her upbringing in a lower middle class family in North Vancouver with just enough to get by.
Hum. Usually if you have just enough to get by, you are not in the middle class.
At one time, her mother mended clothes for a dry cleaners. Her father managed Shores Jewellers on Lonsdale Avenue, where her mother also worked.
“managed”? I thought that was a family-owned business franchise. I have the feeling Lynn is pulling out her “I was brought up poor” card.
When the family got its first television when she was 12, one of her favourite shows was The Millionaire. She was fascinated with the storyline in each episode which followed the impact on a household of a man knocking on a door and giving away $1 million to a stranger.
When she was 12, that would be 1959 and this does not work out with TV shows that Lynn has told us in the past she has seen. The Millionaire ran from January 19, 1955 to June 8, 1960, so Lynn would have seen the last season. In prior writings, Lynn claimed to have seen the The Canadian Howdy Doody Show which ended on June 26, 1959. I suspect Lynn was a little younger when she got her first television. This is not the first time the shows she watched didn't match the time when she had a TV.
She often gets confused on this matter.
Johnston also recalled a story about her mother trying on a burgundy coat with a big fox fur collar. Her mother had per-formed invisible mending on the coat to repair a cigarette hole.
"She stood in front of the mirror with the coat on. She said 'If I had a coat like this, I would never burn a hole in it.' As a kid, I thought, 'Someday I'll buy you a coat like that.'"
Lynn has told this story before. You would think this story will lead into a “And when I was rich, I bought her that coat.” However, this is not to be.
When she did achieve success from her comic strip, which is now syndicated in 2,000 news-papers around the world, she bought a new car for her in-laws.
“now syndicated”? No. At its height, it was, but not now. I do like that the gift here is for her in-laws and not her parents. Did she ever get her mother that coat? Let’s see:
She sent her mother and father to England for a second honeymoon.
I don’t remember hearing this story before. It is a lot like the comic strip story with Jim and Iris honeymooning in England. The story I remember was Lynn getting upset when she gave her parents money, only to find out when they passed, they had not spent it and had $60K sitting unused in their savings account.
She also donates to organizations, charities, medical mission and arts and cultural groups.
No mention of the Farley Foundation, but medical mission made the cut.
In North Bay, where she now lives, Johnston recently heard from the town's Arts Centre. The money she donates to the organization goes to physical repairs to the centre.
What? No. The Capitol Centre in North Bay does list Lynn Johnston Productions as the sponsor for the Family and Friends series of performances.
This is a big 1000-seat theater where all the major acts coming to North Bay perform (remember Phyllis Diller?). As a series sponsor, that usually means they are underwriting the major expenses for any act coming in under this series and usually you get some pretty good perks for doing it. At least that’s the way it’s done in Tucson. My experience with rich donors is that they like to get some attention and special treatment in exchange for their donation. I have no problem with Lynn making that kind of donation, as she is rich. However, this next part is hysterically funny.
"I got a call the other day saying, 'They fixed all the urinals,'" Johnston said. She added a little " Yeah!" and laughed at the idea of her money going for something so prosaic. "Theatre and the arts - they really suffer. There's not enough money to keep those theatres in repair."
Lynn’s money is fixing urinals in the Capitol Centre, and they call her about it? BWA-HA-HA-HA!! That’s rich!
Since Dress for Success started in 1997, it has spread to 124 cities in 14 countries and helped an estimated 600,000 women.
It sounds like a good organization. The interviewer does not say anything about the contents of Lynn's speech, which I do not see as a good sign. Nevertheless, I hope that in addition to making this speech, Lynn did actually make a contribution to the organization aside from telling people she knew Sparky.