Deep Thoughts

Inspiration, Motivation, The Muse : Lynda Barry and Deep Thoughts

1:17:00 AM

lynda barry
Image from necessaryshenanigans
Inspiration / Motivation come is so many different forms. The muse as some like to call it, can perch upon your shoulder, hang for a bit, then take flight at any moment. And when it does... it can stay away for eons. This happens to me all the time. I'm guessing its because the creation of art both visual and written is not a muscle memory I fully developed.

I understand the realities of art in any form call for dedication, conviction, a way of life, but... for those of us who need a little extra umph to push us along the way. I say why not? And so I share with you my new muse... Lynda Barry (a well known cartoonist, artist, writer, and professor).

Last year I came across a great little piece on NPR with Lynda Barry called, Cartoonist Lynda Barry Helps College Students Tap Innate Creativity. I loved her wit, humor, and all around passion she had for the arts both written and drawn.  I then went on to look at her books and open up in my art. 

Unfortunately during the messy process that comes along with a move, my muse fluttered away. I started tightening up in my art again and my writing... after a few failed attempts at Nanowrimo, stalled to a halt.

Well... I was taking a little journaling course for a homeschooling group that I am involved in, (I do not home school, but like to apply the concepts) and on the first post there was a quote:

I do think memory’s something you can absolutely make stronger and it’s just this thing of noticing what you notice, just by doing the easiest diary in the world. — Lynda Barry

Which in turned perched my muse, Ms. Barry right back on my shoulder again. My take away from her the first time was that it doesn't have to be this final finished piece. Fun fresh doodles, silly little characters, and letting go. 

This time around her influence on me went a little deeper. Her interest in the scientific reasons for art, the effects it has on the brain, and the questions she poses about how our societal progression may actually hurt us, is connecting the dots for me. My thoughts on the subject has come full circle and that validation elates me ^_^.

It was always nagging me, this thing about instant gratification. The psychology around games, the studies on the effects of memory enhancement when one draws or doodles while listening. Theories around project based learning and little studies on things like ADHD. How they realized children with ADHD concentrate better when they move around, hum, stand up, etc. Although it seems disruptive in a "typical" class, it is an innate coping mechanism that comes to the surface for these children.

I can go on and on about this subject, but this time around Ms. Barry hit a deeper cord in me that I hope to impart on my children. Take a gander at one of her speeches from 2013, but if you don't have time, here is my take on her talks in general:
To sum it up, we are wired to use our hands to draw, to write (a form of drawing), it is natural for us  move, to dance, and sing to communicate. Since the dawn of man and cave paintings and ritual dances, its something we've brought along with us through our evolutionary selves. So it must be important for our well being no?

A valid key point Lynda Barry makes is: why do we think it is acceptable and expected for a child to take up a piece of paper and draw, to sing, and dance and why do we as adults engage in those activities with our children? Why cause they are universal, it is the natural mode of communication.

So why aren't the arts considered necessary for adults?  Why do we long for it so? And why do we fear it? Some perplexing thoughts to chew on.

Meanwhile, on a lighter note, she got me to write again in a most interesting way. If you don't do anything else, do this little video she did for a class she taught. You will be surprise at how visceral your experience becomes on paper.

It is my hope that the little muse sprinkled some inspiration your way. Happy creating!

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  1. Thanks for the inspiration, Julia... Cool. Very, very cool. I'm a writer and have long wanted to draw. Now I will.

    1. Hi @Lorin! Aww~ I'm so very glad you'll give it a try. Its when you just play some really fun fresh stuff comes out ^_*. Have fun!