"The best way to write is to let the image pull you. You should be water-skiing behind it, not dragging it like a barge. Writing should take you for a ride.”
There's this place called the Omega Center in Rhinebeck New York that is a cool collective for "awakening the best in the human spirit." I got this postcard in the mail and read it quick, wondering if they might, perhaps, one day, hire me to teach a class... one day. And I was looking at the writing courses and the teachers and they have great writers- Marge Piercy, poets Billy Collins, Patricia Smith, and Mark Doty and, be still my heart: LYNDA BARRY.
Now, you might not know who Lynda Barry is but you should Google the crap out of her and find out because she will blow your mind. Ernie Pook's Comeek was a regular comic strip in the Chicago Reader and when I was a kid- and I mean, like, 12. I'd get my pre-teen self downtown however I could and come home with fist-fulls of Readers. I loved the Reader. It made me feel independent, like, I could always think whatever I wanted and no one was ever, really, in the ways that mattered, the boss of me.
I especially loved Lynda Barry's Marlys character in all her freaky, quasi abused, depressing, in your face outsiderness and one night, listening to Prince and Joe Jackson on tape over and over and over again, covered my cassette player radio with my year long collection of Ernie Pook's Comeek from the Reader. Do you know how hard it is to cover a radio with newspaper and packing tape? I carefully taped around the speakers, the play, rewind, record and pause buttons.
It was post-modern mid-eighties awesome. Part Pee-Wee's playhouse, part B-52s, and a lot of Cyndi Lauper and Dead Milkmen. These were the Earth Girls Are Easy years and my art piece was part of the zeitgeist, man. And I think I would pay $200 to have that thing back in my house.
Lynda Barry is a great artist. I'm sure she is a great teacher. God how I love her. And I forgot all about her until I saw this class. Lynda, if you are reading this- I love you.