Message Received

August 3, 1998


Part of the reason I gave Arlo a passion for boats was so I could draw scenes like the third panel above. The main reason, however, was my own passion for boats. I make a lot of jokes about the “Where do you get your ideas?” question, but I’ve rarely attempted a serious answer. Some ideas come from passive sources such as reading or television or conversations. However, I think the best ideas come from personal experience, or at least personal interests. I do know I’m at my best when something actually is happening in my life. It’s rather depressing how often this is not the case, but that’s another issue. Take, for example, the silly little sequence that ran the week of October 26. A month or so before that, I had been whacking at a thick canebrake growing alongside my driveway, removing dead growth and fretting about snakes. Then, through a miraculous process, the “Indiana Jones” strips soon emerge. See? You can’t really explain it.


28 thoughts on “Message Received”

  1. A lot of writers are experiencing the same issue as you are Jimmy. My wife has had some issues with work that has caused some writer’s block, but when she is passionate about a subject the words come out easily. With working at home, the commute is eliminated and there is plenty of time to write, right? Plenty of time to write, but nothing to right about.

    I have to admit that I daydream a lot when I am doing my long walks. If I had the talent to write, I would certainly have the process to dream things up. When I start my walk, I will think of something and 4 or 5 hours later, I am thinking of something entirely different! Most of it is pretty silly. Maybe I have more in common with Jimmy than I care to admit?

  2. I’ve never owned a boat or done wind sailing, but I can certainly live vicariously through the Arlo boat strips!

    And my wife enjoyed the one above as she sometimes think I don’t listen… (and sometimes I don’t…)

  3. Re the 11-17-20 real-time cartoon: Something I learned from dealing with my all-female staff members over the years…you know that old saying “Flattery will get you nowhere”? It ain’t true. Flattery, when done skillfully, will get you just about anywhere you need to be.

  4. Jimmy your sailing fantasy strips were highly admired by the sailing world. Not just the dreamers but the sailors. This oldie is superb and accurate and funny. You were and are the best. I know I was talking to half the small boat people in America back then. You were loved.

    We miss the boat dreams.

  5. Trying to sell a boat can be a long running arc and a source of much humor, frustration, hope, despair that could run forever. You and I know that.

    It would also introduce Arlo searching/dreaming for the perfect smaller boat. Sailing a schoonrr is hard. Have Arlo admit it is too much for him and have him look for a .much smaller sloop to day sail.

  6. Re 11-18-20 real-time cartoon: Sideline, nothin’! Arlo’s probably lucky that he did get arrested by the COVID Police on a charge of “Reckless Endangerment by Means of Public Sneezing”, or something.
    On a more serious note, I truly hope that someone runs across this cartoon in a few years and says, “Huh?”

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