A month or so ago one of my coworkers asked me if I had ever heard of Lynda Barry. I hadn’t. She then linked me to a book she got that she loved, Syllabus: Notes from an accidental professor. I got it from the library. I loved it so much that I bought a copy this past week. Barry is a cartoonist who has worked with Matt Groening (the Simpsons guy) and others. She now teaches at the University of Wisconsin, focusing on a variety of topics and Syllabus is her hand drawn syllabus for her class The Unthinkable Mind.
First off, if there was a way I could go to Madison and take this course, I probably would, or really any of her courses. She uses drawing and keeping a diary to get people to think about how their minds work, how ideas are formed, and how you can be a better writer. I love it. And I bought it because I’ve been doing her exercises and finding them super helpful, not so much in terms of wanting to write a lot right now, but in terms of helping me step back and see what’s happening around me. I’ve also found them helpful in sorting through the difficult times we live in, as the past months have been hard on a what the fuck is happening in my country level and on a personal level.
This book is amazing, it’s interesting to look at, it’s filled with ideas, and it’s introduced me to Barry, who is someone I’ll be reading and listening to more in the future.