Anyway, as chance would have it, I found that Drawn & Quarterly carried almost all of Barry's earlier comics, which I picked up today. My previous efforts to find the comics featuring Marlys, Maybonee, Arna, Arnold and Freddie were fruitless, so I had to opt for Barry's more recent book What it is; however, I was by no means disappointed with this book. In fact, the first adjective that comes to mind to describe it would be inspirational.
The book is replete with childhood memories, autobiographical comics, collage, vintage ads and notes from a teacher, and finally a series of exercises on how to get the writer in you to start writing again. Barry even gives a list of supplies you'll need, which includes a kitchen timer with a gentle buzzer so that it doesn't scare the hell out of you. I've tried a few of the exercises myself, and they're an entertaining way to start writing.
|Barry's Inner Critic (Click to enlarge)|
Throughout the book, Barry ponders the essence of an image, an experience, a memory, a realization, attachment, imagination and the past, providing the reader with some stimulating and humourous food for thought. The author reflects on her childhood memories of play, which are both funny and sad, and eventually draws the conclusion that we stop drawing, writing, singing, acting, etc, when we develop our inner critic and self-consciousness. In another hilarious comic, Barry confesses that in 6th grade she quit taking hula dancing because people always laughed when she told them that she took it very seriously.
The Bedchel-Inspired Girl Positive Test
AYA: the Secrets Come Out
The Curious Case of the Communist Jell-O Box (zine)
Paul Goes Fishing by Michel Rabagliati
Some Thoughts on Canada Reads
Expozine's Broken Pencil
Make Me A Woman by Vanessa Davis
Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges
Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle
Comics: Girls, Boys and Reading