This is a book about writing like you’ve never seen:
If you know Lynda Barry‘s work, you know hers is an inimitable style. But I grok her. I had some reservations as I plucked the book from the shelf, but when somebody bares their soul in their art, you either look away embarrassed and confused or you look deeper, identify and get swallowed up, too.
Her ideas on writing prompts could get you going. Letting go to get going appeals to me. Most of all? I understand what she means by escaping into writing and getting “that floaty feeling.” If you write, you know what she means, too. If you don’t, buy What It Is, do the exercises and find your way into The Float.
The immediate rewards of writing (slipping through “the escape hatch” as Stephen King puts it) are right now. Even as I write this, I feel a tickle in my brain. Some happy dopamine is spreading somewhere through my skull as I type this. I’m a junkie.
You may or not get published, but there’s more to it than that, isn’t there?
Some people don’t get that, so I ask them this: “Did you ever play tennis or run or swim? Did you keep doing it even though you knew you weren’t going to end up at Wimbledon, the Boston Marathon or the Olympics?”
- “The Arts Are Like An External Immune System” (theawl.com)
- Shorties (The Decemberists, Lynda Barry, and more) (largeheartedboy.com)