Life, art, and complaints of Cat Razim

Monday, May 5, 2008

Amazing Lecture tonight.

I have to write this down. Even though I am horrible at this blog bit, I am going to try and redeem myself just a little by writing about an AMAZING woman who came to RIT today.

Let me get this out. I never heard of this woman before tonight. They only reason I found out was because I went to class, and my professor said “Oh, and at seven in the next building over there is a guest lecturer, Lynda Barry, a graphic novelist. I’m planning on going for a bit. Anyone here is welcome to go as well.” My professor and I were the only ones from the class who went. Sucks to be the other kids.

And we didn’t go for just a few minutes like we planned. No, we stayed for the whole talk. Lynda Barry is am amazing character. And an amazing speaker. Just, wow, She came out before the talk, asked if people could hear her without a mic “I can project like Ethel Merman. Oh, and tonight, I’ll curse occasionally. You’ll hear….” and she lists off a few choice words, and then proceeds to hide behind the podium until the Host introduced her.. where she then proceeded to pop out from behind. I was hooked right there.

What did she talk about? Every question about my childhood, every quirk I can recount I had/have, every creative process I had… all these questions is what she answered. OhMyGod.

A bit of back story before I continue, so I can fully share what I learned tonight. I was the eccentric Kid. I was the weird one that was best friends with someone even weirder. We made up stories about little things we found, or stories about our pets. Gave our pets bizarre funerals (Goldfish-Egyptian Burial… and of course, after they died of Natural causes. Goldfish have weak hearts after living their short lives having ping-pong balls thrown at them.) I was the weird girl, that yes, went to the library all the time as a child. Sat and read, or look through everything. I worked at one during a few recess times in elementary school. High school was hanging out with the weird kids that hung out in the Library, playing YuGiOh cards and chess. I wasn’t a nerd. I wasn’t all that smart. I still had my hygiene. But I was the art geek that found friendship with other geeks. So I was a full basin of ideas and creativity.  Lynda mentioned that most depressed kids were library kids. We had that whole spectrum where books brought more meaning, and then also helped us through it. I agree whole-heartily, yes.

College came and killed… everything. not everything. but limited time, where my basin started to run dry, only supplying enough for a project, and that was it. It dragged on me physically and emotionally.

Lynda Barry didn’t know me, but she knew me.

Lemme touch on what she spoke about, I guess that’ll help. I’ll type out my notes I took (notes I managed to take when I wasn’t laughing, and wasn’t fully hanging on every word like a 12 year old girl to a 22 year old half naked on a teen-bop magazine cover)  and then write about those notes a bit more-

We edit daily. Though we shouldn’t, we do. Even something as simple as looking at a person’s outfit and saying “I wouldn’t wear that top with that!” that’s editing. it’s hard not to do, but realize that you do it. Even the extent of being in a situation and having something go wrong. Then after that incident you are in your car or your room and you reply that scene of what happened over and over, replacing what you did with something you later realize you should have done. I know I do that all the time.

If you can do something and have someone ask “what the hell are you doing?” and you don’t have an answer, you are doing it right. She gave us the situation of a kid and his mother in a diner, mom is on her cell phone talking away, and the kid is eating breakfast. He picks up a piece a bacon and goes “I’m gonna eat you!” and then dubs over a voice for the bacon “oh no! please!” and argues back and forth until the mother looks and asks “What are you doing!?” The kids, still holding the bacon, looks at her blankly. That is the mind set we need to bring back… not the mom, the kid’s.

The state of mind you should have while working should be the same state of mind you have while listening to a joke. When you listen to a joke, you don’t say “oh, that can’t happen” you are “accept[ing] chaos as a temporary state of mind”. Where you know, logically, it doesn’t work, but you accept it because … just because… its a joke. don’t reject something because it isn’t possible, accept it and you’ll come up with a story that’s more original that anything. Oh, and the joke she told was funny.. hehehe

all in all, a lot of what she shared was about going back to childhood, and how our minds worked and how we just made things. we did things because… we did. We made up random stories that didn’t make sense logically but it felt right. Kids find something, and adults find the need to put something in… that’s not how it works. Lynda used Barbie as an example. you didn’t take your barbie and ken, and plan out what will happen in the soap opera of their lives and then do it… no, you played, everything just came out. It’s the same when writing a story (another example she gave) You don’t go (and I quote), “oh, I need a symbol of death here…. an owl? getting hit by a truck!” Writing does not work like that. you write first and all that english major crap comes in later.

I am so exited she came and I had the opportunity to see her. She signed two books I bought (and cannot wait to read!!!) and we got into talking. The advise she gave me to try and bring back that eccentric child .. to get that creativity back, would be set a time to do something. Set an egg timer for like, 30 minutes and get as much out as possible. That and just do… don’t really think just do.  It was really refreshing to listen to her. I always thought I was weird beyond help. When I explained to my family about having all these ideas as a child and then growing up missing it, they looked at me funny. they didn’t understand. Lynda Barry Knew exactly what I was talking about, and she was obviously just like me at some point.

posted by Cathy Razim at 9:07 pm  

Powered by WordPress