What Ann Patchett learned about writing from Snoopy

22 November 2021

I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of Snoopy – the canine comic creation of the late Charles M. Schulz – though I still read the comic strip back in the days when people used to buy the news in print. But Snoopy was no backyard pet. He led what today we’d call a rich inner life, variously imagining himself – among other things – to be a World War I fighter pilot, a member of the Foreign Legion, a Beagle Scouts leader, and a sports star.

Snoopy also saw himself as an author, at least an aspiring author, and his efforts to write and be published – along with the all too frequent rejections – were something that American author Ann Patchett, whose novels include Bel Canto and Commonwealth, took inspiration from:

Snoopy taught me that I would be hurt and I would get over it. He walked me through the publishing process: being thrilled by acceptance, ignoring reviews, and then having the dream of bestseller-dom dashed: “It’s from your publisher,” Charlie Brown tells Snoopy. “They’ve printed one copy of your novel. It says they haven’t been able to sell it. They say they’re sorry. Your book is now out of print.”