Tag Archives: writing

What It Is: Part 1

Jesse gave me a book called What It Is by Lynda Barry, as a spontaneous gift. He said that reading it felt like talking to me, and I can see that, because for me reading it feels like being inside of my brain. It’s the sort of book I’ll have to read twice: Once to absorb it all, and the second time to put into practice the questions and exercises.

There is a part that touches on things we wish we could do, often as children, wishing we could draw, or sing, or dance, or write stories, or act, and so on. Barry questions the reader, “Do you wish you could draw? What do you think it would be like?” Similarly, what do you imagine being able to sing would feel like? I answered along as I read through, and noticed a similarity that I hadn’t before.

“I would feel free,” I thought. I think that being able to sing, or to dance, would make me feel a certain, unique freedom. I think that many people who wish they could draw imagine that it would feel the same way. Isn’t that interesting? What’s that all about?

I remember riding on the ACTS bus with Monica Hardin as a sophomore in high school, and we would badger her to sing for us. I remember thinking, “if I could sing like that, I would sing all the time!” I also remember stopping suddenly after that thought, and remembering all the times people had complimented my drawing, saying “if I could draw like that, I would draw all the time!” Interesting.

There seemed to be a disparity in the reality (my being able to draw already) and the perception of what it must be like to be able to (probably similar to my perception of what it would be like to sing). I think it’s similar to the idea of not being able to fly. We often wish we could fly, and dream about it, and yearn for it, but I think it’s important that we can’t. The feeling of yearning is an experience in and of itself that can be appreciated and taken for granted. If we COULD fly, it would mean something different to us.

I feel like I’m scratching the service on some insight or another, and that there is deeper digging to do. I haven’t pieced all these thoughts together quite yet, but I have them all in the same net.