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What It Is by Lynda Barry

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Many of the best people you know emerged from the dysfunctional loam of childhood’s primordial slime and made the world an ashram, their work a dharma. Lynda Barry is beloved because she mines unresolved emotional energies clamoring like small children in order to chronicle childhood’s freckled cruelties, bugs, and monsters---always with psychological depth and humanity.

In What It Is, Barry constructs a compelling story that explains how easy it is for the people and systems around us to obstruct-- or even destroy-- our creativity.
The Footville, Wisconsin native posits the provocative question in which a cheeky genie offers to release you from your own container of pork and beans: “If a genie offered to free you from a dull, canned life, what would you say?”

Part philosophical discussion on image making and why we do it, part jumper cable to revive your creative process, this book is the essence of the writing course Barry gives around the country. It’s all about memory, creativity, a magic cephalopod, and Lynda Barry’s life-- all pasted on a yellow legal pad. Her collages are elaborate, tender, beautiful semiotic studies.

First published in the 80’s by her pal Matt Groening (Barry calls him “Funklord of USA”), she is also infamous for her disastrous romantic relationship with public radio personality Ira Glass. She is definitely the nervous astral goober driving the bus in What It Is: “I’m worried about…the war, things I said 15 years ago, my double chin, unanswered mail, what an ass I am, and I’ve had ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ playing in my head for days.” Check catalog for availability.

Submitted by Jane H. @ King Library

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 6, 2009 11:35 AM.

The previous post in this blog was The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems 1946-1966 by Charles Bukowski.

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