A big idea takes a major leap

A big idea takes a major leap

My wife was walking by the office of our local newspaper when she was struck with an idea. Never one to hesitate long enough to allow the metered march of logic to catch up to the spirited dash of a big idea, she burst into the office and introduced herself.

“Hi, my name is Kristin, and I’ve got a great idea for you.”

Obviously startled, visibly annoyed and quite possibly just a wee bit terrified, the man behind the desk heard her out.

“I’m a cartoonist, and my husband is a really funny guy,” she said. “Wouldn’t it be great if we collaborated on a weekly column for your newspaper?”

In what was quite likely the only way of peacefully ridding his office of the uninvited disturbance, he replied, “How about this? You put together a sample and drop it off in the next day or two.”

You’d have thought he’d flashed a million dollar book advance to the woman. She called me at work breathless — the kind of breathlessness typically reserved for the kids overflowing the bathtub, or our dogs tearing into the neighbor’s trash or the keys being locked in a running car outside the grocery store. I winced in anticipation of the latest disaster.

“You’re never going to believe it!” she shouted. “You’re going to write a funny column, and I am going to illustrate it and it’s going to be in the newspaper every week.”

I was completely dumbfounded. Not only was I caught completely off guard by the concept, I was grossly unqualified for the duty for which she had auditioned me.

“Hmmm,” I said, buying time to conjure the most appropriate response. “So you know I’m not a writer, right?”

So began the journey that would lead us through the next 25 years — 1,126 consecutive weeks — of sharing our take on the day. Call it Chapter One.

Chapter Two finds us on the page in front of you: a new venue, a new mix of readers and a whole mess of new moments to share. The basic M.O. stays the same. I write and my wife draws.

Interestingly, we have never truly collaborated. Because I work a full-time job, my writing typically takes place in the dead of night in a dimly lit room with a cat on my lap and a moonbeam over my shoulder. Kristin doesn’t have a clue what I’ve written until she reads it the following morning, typically with only an hour or two to go before deadline. She then whips up her own interpretation of the events as presented. I never see the cartoon until it lands in my email on its way to the press. Sometimes the connection is obvious, and sometimes Kristin works her own special kind of magic. (I’m not going to pretend I fully understand her even after 36 years together. Sometimes it’s best just to laugh heartily and carry on.)

For those of you who so thoughtfully and generously reached out to us as our last gig came to its unceremonious end, we are thrilled you’ve followed us to our new home here in The Bargain Hunter and the Wooster Weekly News. For those who may be scratching their heads wondering why they’d want to spend five or 10 minutes of their week with us, just stay tuned. We’re about to have some fun together.

Kristin and John would love to hear from you. Write Drawing Laughter, P.O. Box 170, Fredericksburg, OH 44627, or email John at jlorson@alonovus.com.