Friday, December 10, 2010

Picture this

I had a bad day, so after I was done with doing some things that needed to be done, I walked to the coffee shop. Then I walked to the grocery store. After that, I went to the bookstore.

I wasn't sure what I was looking for, or if I was looking for something in particular, so I wandered around to see where that would take me. I looked at the magazines, and the photography books, and then I ended up downstairs, where I found a copy of Lynda Barry's new book, Picture This: The Near-sighted Monkey Book.

The book is about how to draw, which is to say it's not about how to draw at all. If you're not familiar with Barry or her work, she is most famous for having drawn a comic strip called Ernie Pook's Comeek. Lately, her work has been as much about the creation of work as the work itself, and this is true of Picture This as well. In any case, I removed the book from the shelf, took it over to a footstool, where I sat down, and read it.

It's a very wonderful book -- to look at and to read. There are pictures, and collages, and drawings, and comics, and photographs, and a treatise on the importance of doodles. There are monkeys, ghosts, and monsters. The characters include Lynda, and Marlys, and Barry's husband.

Here is my favorite line:
The trick is to stand not knowing certain things long enough for them to come to you.