SARANAC LAKE - Garry Trudeau is not known for giving media interviews, but he's also not known for speaking publicly in his old hometown.
So while he was doing the latter Tuesday, boosting the soldier-aid efforts of the Patriot Hills coalition, he talked to the Enterprise about growing up in this village that his great-grandfather essentially founded.
He used to give interviews regularly. He said Tuesday he felt obligated to newspapers for carrying his wise-cracking, politically liberal comic strip, Doonesbury, in its early days.
He talked about why he stopped doing that:
"It's not that I have ever really insisted on standing in the shadows," he said. "I've spoken all over the country through the years.
"When I first started out, I was in trouble a lot, and newspapers were throwing me out of the paper. I don't think the Enterprise - yeah, the Enterprise did at one point. Because each client newspaper has a piece of me, in fact - you have a contract with them - and so there was a sense that you owed them something. So any time when any reporter would call me, I would feel obligated: There was a client newspaper; I've got to respond to this.
"Far too much energy was going into defending my work and not doing it. And so I just said, 'You know, it might be easier to do this kind of work if I just sort of step back from (the media).'
"So it wasn't that I was an inordinately shy person or had anything against the media - indeed the vast majority of my friends, I think, actually worked in the media - but it greatly facilitated the work.
"And also I was finding that as I was drawing, I was kind of imagining how I was going to defend it - as I was writing it. That's not a healthy way to create art or to write a strip.
"I think it's almost un-American to back off on opportunities to promote yourself, (but) I think it played some role in my longevity. I didn't give people as many opportunities to get sick of me."