CSotD: Sunday Afternoon in the Park with Laffs

Candorville (KFS) often blurs the lines between its main character, Lemont Brown, and its creator, Darrin Bell, but Bell’s latest book, “The Talk,” is indeed being published by a traditional publishing house.

That link also lists his tour stops, and it’s good to have your publisher send you out on tour. An author friend of mine showed up in town for a tour and we went to get a glass of wine after, and, when I started to reach for the check, she stopped me because she had a per diem for that sort of thing.

I mention this mostly as a notice to my cartooning friends that, given what I do for a living, buying me a drink and maybe dinner is not only deductible but can be charged back to your publisher.

Meanwhile, Clyde is likely to wind up with several boxes of books stuffed under his bed, because that’s how self-publishing works in about 9 examples out of 10. And can’t nobody tax him on profits he ain’t made.

As for watering down the message, my friend was writing historical fiction about England under the Plantagenets and told me how her editor had hammered her with questions and demands for verification about what seemed minor details, like whether they actually had the type of footstools she had briefly mentioned.

You want to hear about it from one editor, not 200 readers, though it’s less of a problem if the books remain under your bed.

But it’s up to you. As this fellow in Pros & Cons (KFS) says, it’s important to tell the world your truth.



Under the right circumstances.

Though, as the saying goes, “Never miss a good chance to shut up.”

Speaking of which, this is a particularly appropriate Reality Check (AMS), because I sure hope Todd has the excuse of youth to explain his color blindness.

I was married at 21 and divorced at 34, and I found myself considerably wiser, having sat out the game for 13 years, because now I could see flags I’d never noticed in my first bachelorhood, which made dating far less of a random throwing of darts than it had been before.

I would assume this is true of both sexes, but it’s also true that there are people who never do manage to see the red flags, and they come in both sexes as well.

There are glasses that purport to correct colorblindness, but apparently they only work on one type and then only if it’s a fairly mild case.

I have not heard of any you can wear on a first date, but if you need them at all, you’d need a stronger prescription anyway.

Whamond scores again with this morning’s Reality Check, making an observation that had never occurred to me before but which will be attached to that word forever from this day forward.

Note, by the way, that he ends with the punchline, which goes back to my recent diatribe against cartoonists who comment on a pun, apologizing for it, in the final panel.

I recently got some back-up for that on Bob Eckstein’s Substack, in an interview he did with Hilary Price of Rhymes with Orange (KFS), who offered this advice to cartoonists: “The fewer words the better, and try to end on the strongest word. Never have a second character comment on the punchline. You’re stealing that job from the reader.”

I agree, and Whamond’s cartoon is an excellent example of letting the reader complete the gag.

It’s a good piece of free advice, but if you’d like to dig in for a lot more intense, hands-on, not-free guidance from a well-established cartoonist, she’s giving a five-day workshop at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction Vermont next month.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Crabgrass — AMS

Cornered — AMS

Crabgrass points out a problem with city living that we rarely faced out in the country. Our yards were large enough, and open space common enough, that we didn’t have to worry about a ball going into the neighbors’ yard.

A foul ball or a home run, however, went into the woods, and, when we played for-real baseball, we had some ground-rule-double rules about balls that disappeared into the forest in fair territory but not at home run distance.

But we also played with tennis balls to compensate for the number of kids who didn’t have gloves, and a Wiffle ball bat — the thin kind — with a tennis ball made for a reasonable game that didn’t involve too much time searching the underbrush.

Wiffle balls themselves, however, were only used when playing with five-year-olds, or when you couldn’t get more than four kids for a game.

If you can get four really old kids, you could have a game of Pickleball golf, which would be Wiffle Golf if the Wiffle Ball people didn’t have trademarks and probably lawyers.

In fact, they sell something like a Wiffle ball for golfers, the same size as a regulation ball but plastic so it won’t go as far and you won’t end up searching for it in the woods.

Like you do playing with regulation balls.

Juxtaposition of Sunday Afternoons in the Park

The folks in this Speed Bump (Creators) go to the wrong park. Where my dog and I go every morning, we’ve got northern mockingbirds, brown thrashers and catbirds, any of which can put on an elaborate concert without repeating a song.

When they get going at once, you can just sit in the sun and soak in some stunning mimicry that includes all those requests and some you hadn’t thought of.

BTW, I think the bird in the cartoon is a Mellencamp Warbler.

We have a zero-sum scooping policy at our park, which means if you can’t find your own dog’s poop, you’re off the hook if you pick up someone else’s. But this F-Minus (AMS) offers a real alternative, since I once had to rewrite a feature about dogs for an editor who objected to the notion that people “had” or “owned” dogs.

If you laugh at an editor, you won’t get further assignments.

Life being largely a matter of choosing what poop you are willing to deal with.

4 thoughts on “CSotD: Sunday Afternoon in the Park with Laffs

  1. A softball through the church window was technically far enough for a home home, but you had to pay for it. Unless it was one of the expensive curved ones, when everybody was expected to chip in.

  2. I’ve never gotten a per diem from my publisher, but when we finally meet for real, the first round is on me.

    The big difference I see between traditionally published and self-published books is editing. Publication quality is good enough that they look and feel the same, but often the writers who feel strongest about avoiding the gatekeepers and editors are those who need them most. My definition of a good editor is one who makes your work better without leaving fingerprints; a bad editor will make you look like an idiot without taking any responsibility. I’ve mostly had good ones.

    Re: zero-sum scooping, we always scoop our own. In addition, I have a rule that if I can pick up someone else’s poo while in the same lean/squat, I will. Functionally, that means within a couple of feet. My little contribution to an incrementally better world. You’re welcome, world.

    1. The best example of the necessity of editing: Stephen King’s “The Stand” original edited version vs. “too big and famous to be edited” version.

  3. I have a vague memory of Inspector Clouseau (Peters Sellers) speaking of about a “boom,” but I didn’t appreciate Seller’s full humor until you provided Reality Check this morning. Got a 40-year delayed laugh.

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