aprilp_katje (aprilp_katje) wrote in binky_betsy,

Portable Artist Leaving Manitoba

I was looking at the third treasury, Making Ends Meet, in Google Books. (I realized that the book isn't listed in "search by book" in the catalog--which is weird, because the first two are.)

Anyway, there is an article from November 2, 1983, which I think howtheduck has mentioned in the past. It's the one where Lynn reveals that the family has already purchased the property in North Bay and will be moving the following year, after the kids' school year in ends in the spring. I have transcribed it and will post below the cut.
Winnipeg Free Press

November 2, 1983

Portable Artist Leaving Manitoba

By Paula Martin

The woman whose cartoons are syndicated in more than 500 newspapers world-wide left the interview to go in search of a new sewing machine.

Lynn Johnston, whose comic strip, For Better or For Worse, reaches readers in 10 countries, is in Winnipeg on the first leg of a promotion of a new compilation of her work, It Must Be Nice to Be Little, and a National Film Board documentary, See You in The Funny Papers, in which she is featured.

Johnston, also known to Manitobans as a Lynn Lake resident, will soon be leaving the province to take up residence in North Bay, Ont., where the family has purchased some land. Johnston says she is "portable," but adds she feels almost apologetic about leaving.

On the other hand, it's time for us to go,"she says.

With Lynn Lake's uncertain future--because of possible mine closing, Johnston says the town has become unstable and is shrinking rather than growing, adding "the more and more depressed the community became, the more and more attractive this (North Bay) property started to look."

And her work demands that she travel a certain amount. With the airlines cutting back on some
northern flights, getting about can become difficult, she says.

But the family won't move from their home of six years until Katie, five[,] and Aaron, 10, finish school in the spring, she adds.

Although her agent has hinted that perhaps she might move to the United States, Johnston is having none of it.

"I'm a real Canuck. I had no idea that I was so nationalistic," she says. Johnston also expresses strong feelings about bilingualism. Her children are learning French and she says that one day she would like to learn the language herself. She adds that she is looking forward to living in Northern Ontario because of the small French community nearby.

Not learning a second language is "like closing doors," Johnston says, adding that some day she
would like to move to an area that is strongly bilingual.

After an afternoon of back-to-back interviews, she comments that she'll try not to be "boring,"
explaining that people often believe cartoonists ought to be as witty as their creations sometimes are.

Johnston has even changed her hairstyle so she doesn't look like the cartoon's Elly Patterson, a character she says people sometime[s] expect her to resemble.

The situations and dialogue contained in For Better or For Worse are contrived, Johnston explains. "You don't have conversations like that," in real life, she muses. "If you sat and looked in on a normal family, you would soon fall asleep."

"You talk to people who don't exist and you have adventures with people who don't exist," when
devising the dialogue and characters for the cartoon.

Although Johnston protests the comparison, she concedes that some of the characters' behavior may resemble that of her family[,] especially "the prattle between husband and wife."

She describes her dentist husband Rod as the more entertaining of the two, the one who can spout one-liner jokes at random.

As her own family grows up, it might be more difficult in the future to chronicle the day-to-day growth of little Lizzie and Michael in the comic strip. Although their situations are not really duplications of what her own two children experience, she says readers often assume so.

"Even today the kids sort of cringe when they think of what's being printed."

Katie, she says[,] is not that interested in the comic strip, but Aaron is "one of my harshest critics" who reads and re-reads the cartoon and has to hoard her book collections because she tends to give them away to visitors at her home.

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