Going to see Lynda Barry is like going to see the Dalai Lama. (Actually, I’ve never gone to see the Dalai Lama, but I plan on doing so the next time he’s in town to see if he could possible be more inspiring than the personality-packed “Funk Queen of the Universe”.) Lynda was in NYC this weekend to promote What It Is, which is likely the world’s first collage how-to-write book. She was interviewed by Hillary Chute Friday Night at the NYU Post Bang all-day comics symposium, and had the audience in stitches the entire time—but in a deep way!
The book is not specific to animation, but applicable to any artistic endeavor. It is all about how to recapture the playful attitude to creativity that we all have in childhood, but lose along the way, especially when we start looking at our work and judging it. (Or, as she put it in her own inimitable way: “Is my baby defective? Should I put the baby back up inside?”)
For a taste of what you’re in for, here’s a podcast interview from NPR, a recent article in The New York Times, and a page about her “Writing The Unthinkable” Workshop, coming soon to a city possibly near you.
A few new things I learned about Lynda Barry:
- When she was a kid, she was obsessed with Family Circus, and really want to “”get into the circle” and take part in their wholesome and charming oval-headed world.
- She can recite Beefaroni lyrics.
- She had an imaginary imaginary friend.
- She did a college art project called “Erotic Spaces” that involved drawing electrical outlets.
- When she met Matt Groening in college she was impressed because he was the only guy at hippie school with “buttons on his shirt”.
- She has a huge crush on Elmer The Cow of Elmer’s Glue.
- You can buy her original art on ebay and she would really appreciate it.