Category Archives: We Asked Lynn

Making Gift Bows: Lynn’s Video Tutorial

Lynn’s parents, Mervyn and Ursula, owned a jewelry store in Vancouver when Lynn was a kid. Lynn’s mom used to do gift-wrapping in the back of the shop, and she would make her own custom gift bows from scratch, using ribbons.

Lynn’s friends and family appreciate her carrying on the family tradition — you can tell when a present is something Lynn (or her daughter, Katie) have wrapped. Katie’s special talent is gift baskets, but Lynn is the queen of the pom-pom bow. Watch this video tutorial to see how she does it!

We Asked Lynn: Which Cartoon Kid Was Most Like You?

We’ve been asking Lynn a series of questions about the strip, so we could share her answers with you. Recently we wanted to know which one of the Patterson kids was most like her. Here’s what she said:

Which of the cartoon children is most like me? Well, they are ALL me! The characters are all me.

Patterson Family GroupEach kid character had elements of my kids, because I had Aaron and Kate to guide me through their life changes. But, in essence, the characters’ thoughts and words came from somewhere inside my head–or out in the ether, with my head as a conduit–so they are (were) all me.

Sparky [Charles Schulz] said, "If you want to know me, read my work". It sounded flippant, but really, what we wrote was what we thought, how we processed ideas, how we used our language, what made us laugh, and how we dealt with conflict.

Writers often comment on the strange way characters come to life in their novels–and often twist the plot away from the intended path. Like "spirit writing", if such a thing exists. This was true of the comic strip. Sometimes the characters took me into different spaces than I intended, but in the end, their journey was always piloted by myself.

There is no clear, precise answer to this question. A good thing, I think! It makes this creative process mysterious and exciting for all of us.

We Asked Lynn: Your Favourite Authors?

As part of our ongoing Q and A series with Lynn, we asked about her favourite authors. Here’s what she had to say!

Hoooo…favourite authors. I buy books by the BAG from a local thrift shop! So it’s hard to name a single author, Steph!

journeyer_jenningsRight now, I’m reading a book by Gary Jennings, called "The Journeyer". It’s wonderful historical fiction, following the life of Marco Polo. It takes you on a ribald–but believable and thoroughly well-researched–lifetime of travels through China and the Middle East.  I don’t want it to end!

I love his writing. I plan to reread “Aztec”, another of Jennings’ works, next. He is a master of his craft and well worth recommending.



We Asked Lynn: Would You Write a Novel?

As part of our ongoing “We Asked Lynn” series of blog entries, we questioned Lynn about whether she’d ever consider writing a novel. Here’s her answer:
A novel? Sure. I even have an outline. The thing that keeps me from writing a novel is, well, the arduous task of actually writing a novel! Also, after writing the outline, I realized I’d have to do a significant amount of research on the BC railways in the 1970s. I’ve started doing that—sort of.

Another thing keeping me from writing the novel, (which has been hounding me for years) is the ending. I have the story, some intrigue, some comedy, love, tears and so on….ahhh, but without a good ending, there’s no point in putting pen to paper.

Lynn contemplates writing a novel

Now, I know for a fact that a novel often “writes itself”; there is a spontaneity to it, which is almost like spirit writing. Characters often tell you things you didn’t know, and the story will sometimes take on a life of its own. The ending is sometimes changed by the muse, which takes over, and the author simply goes along for the ride! What an incredible experience that would be—something I’d give anything to enjoy. All I have to do is sit down and begin to write…and for that, I haven’t yet found the energy, the time, or the courage.

We Asked Lynn: How Did You Meet Phyllis Diller?

As part of our on-going blog series, we’ve been asking Lynn some interview questions. Our most recent query was, “How did you meet Phyllis Diller?”

I met Phyllis Diller when she came, as a guest, to open the newly refurbished Capitol Centre in North Bay, Ontario, in 1997. She arrived with a chaperone, and with a small suitcase for her wig and wardrobe.

I left a small bouquet of flowers in her dressing room, along with some refreshments and a copy of her book, which I asked her to sign. Having waited in green rooms a few times, I knew a few presents would be welcome. I didn’t expect to actually meet her, so I left a letter telling her how much her work meant to me, and how much I admired her talent as a writer and performer. I even had the cheek to leave her one of my books, autographed to her.

Phyllis did a wonderful performance. She was over 80 years old, and still delivering a wildly funny–and entirely original–live stand-up show. Afterwards, we all expected her to retire to her hotel, but she graciously came to the reception room upstairs, to meet the staff and some of the audience. She sought me out. She knew my work!

I was flattered and giddy with excitement. I couldn’t believe I was talking to someone I so admired. She eagerly shook hands with everyone, congratulated the general manager and her staff on their outstanding renovation of the theatre, and before she was too tired, she asked me to talk to her privately. She wanted to tell me that she knew my friend Mike Peters well. Mike does “Mother Goose and Grimm.” Phyllis and Mike’s mother had done a radio show together in Dayton, Ohio, when they were young mothers. Mike had been “part of her family” for years! Mike Peters and his wife, Marian, are good friends of mine, and with that connection made, Phyllis invited me to visit her the next time I was in Los Angeles. I told her to be careful about such invitations, because I would take her up on it. And, I did.

Over the years, I visited her several times, went to dinner with her, met some of her longtime friends in comedy, and got to know her as a friend. I found her to be genuine, compassionate, brilliant, forthright, and angry. She had seen some truly difficult times, both privately and professionally. I’d read her books, and didn’t need to ask why she was so defiant and strongly opinionated.

She was also spontaneously funny, with a generosity that allowed other funny people to come in, too, and be part of the repartee. Verbally sparring with Phyllis took courage, but once I was in her circle, I was OK. Anyone who has bureau drawers filled with jokes–her own jokes–is a formidable comedy partner when the martinis come out. To have joked with, laughed with, and had advice from Phyllis Diller, makes me one of the lucky ones.

There are millions of people whose lives are steeped in comedy. How do they do it, where does it come from, and how can you find more? Some people live on the periphery of stand-up, imagining themselves able to perform that most perilous craft. I am one of those people. I will never take for granted the honour and the joy it was to have been part of Phyllis Diller’s circle of friends. I was a new friend, but she cared for me. I meant something to her. You can’t get much closer to heaven than that!

A picture of Phyllis Diller's cat, snuggling with the plush Farley doll that was a gift from Lynn.

A picture of Phyllis’ cat, snuggling with the plush Farley doll that was a gift from Lynn.