Comics Memoir

Read What It Is

Read What It Is by Lynda Barry

How do objects summon memories? What do real images feel like? For decades, these types of questions have permeated the pages of Lynda Barry’s compositions, with words attracting pictures and conjuring places through a pen that first and foremost keeps on moving. What It Is demonstrates a tried-and-true creative method that is playful, powerful, and accessible to anyone with an inquisitive wish to write or to remember. Composed of completely new material, each page of Barry’s first Drawn & Quarterly book is a full-color collage that is not only a gentle guide to this process but an invigorating example of exactly what it is: “The ordinary is extraordinary.”

I liked the memoir parts as well as the mini essay about “the two questions”. The collage pages were a little too philosophical stoner for me. The art style seemed older than it really is, and the vintage ephemera probably contributed. I’m not big into writing prompts, and don’t have writer’s block so they weren’t relevant to me, but I imagine would be quite useful if you were writing a memoir or creative nonfiction.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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