Friday, October 9, 2009

What It Is by Lynda Barry

What is an idea made of? What is an image? What is the source of memory and imagination? What happens in our heads when we compose words or create anything? What happens in our heads when we read something? What are thoughts? How is thinking different from experiencing?

These are the kinds of questions Barry explores in What It Is. Her collage style may present an obstacle to people approaching this book with the left side of their brains, but her goal is to get people to play, to overcome internalized self-criticism and to embrace the notion of not-knowing-where-the-pen-is-taking-you. A right-brained way of acting.

"I have found that writing by hand slowly is faster than a computer-way of doing it, though I know it's not easy the way a computer is easy. Tapping a finger is not as complicated as making an original line in the shape of an S. Different parts of the brain are used when we make an S by hand and more of the body than a finger tap - and - images seem to come from this kind of being in motion." (Handwritten, with some letters coloured-in, some in all caps, some underlined, etc.)

This is the second time I've read this book and I know I'll be reading it again when I feel like being inspired to create.

[Barry's captions in the fuzzy image above: 1. "I want to write... but how to begin? Let me think about it..." 2. "Gotta think of a story worth writing..." 3. "TEN YEARS LATER. Shh! Still thinkin'."]

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