Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Lynda Barry's "Two Questions"

Lynda Barry - “'The Two Questions' came from trying to write something good and not getting very far because I had forgotten that trying to write something good before I write anything at all is like refusing to give birth unless you know for sure it is going to be a very good baby."
 "What I don’t understand is why I keep forgetting this and then having to remember it again. It was all the trying for something gook that got me into the very tangle this piece describes. There certainly wasn’t any fun in it until I remembered to quit trying to be good. I had the flu when I wrote it and couldn’t hold my brush steady enough to get a gook line, so I used a gel pen, which added some extra frustration, which wasn’t all bad: It gave me a kind of traction on the paper that helped steady the line, and I did it on my lap while camping out on the couch with the TV on, which gave me a good junior-high-school-homework feeling.”


Lynda Barry has been making comics in her wonderful naive style since 1977 when editor and fellow cartoonist, Matt Groening (Simpsons, Life Is Hell) published her work in the student paper of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, which he titled Ernie Pook's Comeek, without her knowledge.
She has published many books including "The Good Times Are Killing me", "Fun House" and "One! Hundred! Demons!"
She offers a workshop titled "Writing the Unthinkable", in which she teaches the process she uses to create all of her work and uses techniques that appeared in her book, "What It Is".


  1. My head is about to explode with the hilarious, angry, sad truth of this .Is the page I am looking at in the book she is selling? if so I'm in! Genius relationship of pictures and words knocks me out.

    1. I don't know if this comic is in Lynda Barry's book "What It Is" but judging from the description of the book, "insightful and bubbling with delight in the process of artistic creation." I thought it was the best choice. I really should get it though. It looks awesome.

  2. Brilliant, brilliant! I'm with anonymous above... Well said. And so true. This has helped me immeasurably with my own doubt-monsters :) Thanks!

  3. Thanks for commenting. If you like this post you might enjoy the one I'm posting on Thursday. It's a comic about how representational art can capture reality better than realistic art. It's called "Fiction Versus Nonfiction" by Chris Ware.

  4. Ive just discussed this post with my 9 year old, he was impressed with the back ground and ask what it was about, his reply to what kills doubt "Marshmallows"

  5. Love this & soooo true! "Is it good enough?" is the ultimate mind-fuck & dead-end of enjoyable, free-flow creativity. And we have to remember this again & again & again. Thanks for the wonderful reminder.

  6. genius. made me excited to work on my next comic!

  7. Thomas, you were right, I like this a lot.~Becca