Monday, September 1, 2008

What It Is by Lynda Barry

If you aren't in the right frame of mind, looking at this book would probably confuse you. On the surface, the book is a collection of scrambled sentence fragments, questions, doodles and cuttings. Readers who persevere will be rewarded with a rich text designed to make one think about what writing is, why we do it, and how to help ourselves become better writers. What better means, of course, is totally subjective, but it can usually be linked to MORE, including doodles.
Lynda is known for her comic strips/books, but here amidst colorful and creative art, she doesn't try to teach drawing. Frankly, she isn't teaching WRITING either, but her biographical sketches and clever writing exercises help readers understand the processes (and circumstances) that lead to creative expression. I personally wish I had more time to write and doodle in my old journals, and this book reminded me of the pleasure I got from those free-form story-writing exercises. I look forward to using this book in our library's new teen writing group, and I hope everyone gets a chance to crack this open and take a look. Yay.
Here is a recent interview with the author if you would like to know more about her.

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