I got this from the library but will be buying myself a copy post-haste.
This is what a book about writing should be. It was really interesting to read this so soon after Stephen King's "On Writing", because it really underlined how far short of the target his book fell.
A book about writing should do the following things:
* inspire you
* provide insight/discussion on the tools a writer needs
* offer framework for developing the skills of creativity.
This book does all of those things, but it's heaviest on the inspiration, which is where I think the focus should be. Look. The fact is anyone can write, but we get caught up in self-doubt. This book is about training your brain to work through that self-doubt, which is the most important thing for any person engaged in any type of creative endeavor.
This book is the tools, the inspiration, and the oblique strategies, all rolled up in one.
It's not perfect; the introduction is gorgeous and worth lingering over, but it goes on for a bit before you get to the actual heart of the issue. And I would have liked a little more wrap-up at the end; a bit more about the larger sense of why you should be interested in writing and developing the skills she espouses in this book (i.e. because it's good for you.) As it was it felt like she kicked me out of the end of the book a little abruptly.
And note that I haven't actually done any of the exercises she lists in the book, but I took away enough that I feel like I can apply them to the stuff I'm currently stuck on.
This is important work Lynda Barry is doing, and it was immensely helpful to me. She talks about how these are lessons that we can take to heart, but we will forget them, and we will need to continually relearn them. And I'm glad she put light on that and made it safe space; it was a huge relief to hear someone as amazing as her give voice to something that we all struggle with.
If you have this and a copy of Art & Fear on your shelf, I feel like you're going to be unstoppable.
Thumbs up, you guys.