Lynda Barry has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator, and teacher and found that they are all very much alike. She is the author of the acclaimed graphic novel One! Hundred! Demons!, the cartoonist behind the long-running Ernie Pook’s Comeek, and the author of the creative how-to memoir comic books What It Is and Picture This. She lives in Wisconsin, where she is an assistant professor of art and a Discovery Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Excerpt from book:
Writing exercises and creativity advice from Barry’s pioneering, life-changing workshop
The award-winning author Lynda Barry is the creative force behind the genre-defying and bestselling work What It Is. She believes that anyone can be a writer and has set out to prove it. For the past decade, Barry has run a highly popular writing workshop for nonwriters called Writing the Unthinkable, which was featured in The New York Times Magazine. Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor is the first book to make her innovative lesson plans and writing exercises available to the public for home or classroom use. Barry teaches a method of writing that focuses on the relationship between the hand, the brain, and spontaneous images, both written and visual. It has been embraced by people across North America—prison inmates, postal workers, university students, high-school teachers, and hairdressers—for opening pathways to creativity.
Syllabus takes the course plan for Barry’s workshop and runs wild with it in her densely detailed signature style. Collaged texts, ballpoint-pen doodles, and watercolor washes adorn Syllabus’s yellow lined pages, which offer advice on finding a creative voice and using memories to inspire the writing process. Throughout it all, Barry’s voice (as an author and as a teacher-mentor) rings clear, inspiring, and honest.
“Barry isn’t particularly interested in the writer’s craft. She’s more interested in where ideas come from—and her goal is to help people tap into what she considers to be an innate creativity.” —The New York Times
“In Barry’s work, the transcendent power of the imagination awaits.” —Laura Miller, Salon.com (Unforgettable Graphic Novels of 2013)