Lynda Barry on Keeping a Diary

The point of the daily diary exercise is not to record what you already know about what happened to you in the last 24 hours. Instead, it’s an invitation to the back of your mind to come forward and reveal to you the perishable images about the day you didn’t notice you noticed at all.” — Lynda Barry

Lynda Barry on various "Daily Diary" practices - via Tumblr

Lynda Barry on various “Daily Diary” practices – via Tumblr


In a recent Tumblr post, artist, author and professor Lynda Barry discusses the many variations on her diary-keeping exercises. As opposed to a place for simply logging one’s most recent 24-hour haze day after day after day, Barry’s diaries “teach you to hear, see, and remember the world all around you.

“The point of this practice is to begin to notice when we notice something.  It’s akin to a certain sort of ‘waking up’ – and becoming present in a different way than we usually are in our day to day lives.  We catch ourselves noting something that has caught our eye or our ear. We begin to realize these flashes of awakeness [sic] –(which can oddly feel also like dreaming), are happening to us all day long…” (Barry)

To highlight some of the diary-keeping parameters that might help you throughout our workshop and in the future, here’s a short list of what to include in your diary/journal/notebook [as quoted from Barry’s drawings above/below]:

  • things that you noticed when you became present — that is to say when the hamster wheel of thoughts and plans and worries stopped long enough for you to notice where you were and what was going on around you…
  • things you did
  • things you observed
  • things you overheard
  • drawings.

Barry’s Tumblr is not only an excellent source of notebook-keeping wisdom, but also full of incredible golden nuggets of inspiration from around the web and world at large. For now here’s a page from her most recent book, Syllabus, which was published just last year. As always, Barry poses insightful questions with multiple, perhaps unending, answers. I invite you to spend some time reflecting on the questions posed here in your workshop journal. And remember: There are no wrong answers.

Lynda Barry, “Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor.” Drawn & Quarterly (2014).

 

What is Literature for? via The School of Life

via The School of Life:

“Literature is the greatest ‘reality simulator,’ a machine that puts you through infinitely more situations than you could ever directly witness… It lets you speed up time, in order to see the arc of a life from childhood to old age…Literature cures you of provincialism and, at almost no cost, turns us into citizens of the world…”

Do you agree? What do you think literature is for? Write it out! 

Virginia Woolf on Keeping a Notebook (via Brainpickings.org)

“The habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”

– Virginia Woolf

Portrait of Virginia Woolf by Roger Fry, 1917, via Wikimedia Commons

Portrait of Virginia Woolf by Roger Fry, 1917, via Wikimedia Commons

Maria Popova at Brainpickings.org has put together a great selection of Virginia Woolf’s thoughts on the creative benefits of keeping a journal. Woolf herself did not begin keeping a journal until 1915 at age 33, but left behind 26 volumes when she died in 1941. Like the notebooks you carry with you during our workshops, Woolf’s diaries provided her a place for collecting ideas, research, and creative processes.

- image//content via @Brainpickings.org

– image//content via @Brainpickings.org

 

Head over to Popova’s Brainpickings.org for more!