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Journalling and teaching



Before this year started, I imagined something entirely different for it. This was going to be my year of aimless creativity – I was going to set up an artist’s studio in my (leaky) garage, I was going to spend time in the garden and on my sewing machine. I was going to achieve a state of blissful zen, in tune with the universe, not racing to complete my next big project, instead hoping the perfect project would organically present itself thanks to my daily creative practice.

Of course – of course! – it didn’t turn out that way. I did lots of headless chickening about, finishing big projects. My Masters of Design. My graphic memoir. Various freelance jobs. I took on some more freelance jobs – a tutoring position at Massey, a social media role for a literary festival. I looked after my kids, I did the shopping, made the appointments – you know how it goes. In my downtime, rather than meditatively drawing in my journal, I tried to read the entire internet, and watch stuff on Netflix. I read some books, but not as many as I might have done if I didn’t have an OCD relationship with my phone.

Last night, in between trawling Twitter, I was reading Lynda Barry’s Syllabus. Do you know Lynda Barry? She is amazing. She takes a course, What It Is, about writing and drawing. I would love it if she came here to take it. You don’t have to draw to take it – in fact, she celebrates the spontaneous drawing that comes from students who haven’t tried to draw since primary school. As part of her homework, she makes her students write in their journals for four minutes. I thought I can do that. Four minutes takes the pressure off. The reason why I don’t journal is because I imagine that it takes too much time. That’s also the reason why I don’t draw regular comics anymore. But I think something wonderful happens when you do. All the little fragments add up to something – a narrative of your life, a net to catch all those encounters and observations that seem so profound at the time but then evaporate into nothing in your brain.

The other reason why I was reading Lynda Barry was because I have to take a workshop this weekend, in Auckland, with the incredible cartoonist Toby Morris. To be honest, I’d prefer to sit in the audience and be Toby’s student. Our workshop is called The political is personal: autobiographical and political comicsIt’s part of a whole weekend of workshops about writing and publishing and trying to make it in the book world. I think it’s going to be amazing, and I’m looking forward to having a little micro-break away from my domestic reality.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    13/09/2016 12:30 pm

    Four minutes is awesome. As are projects like 100 days. Levers and frames really help, eh?

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      13/09/2016 7:15 pm

      Absolutely! And remembering that a little bit each day eventually makes quite a lot! This is something I am always forgetting

  2. David Geary permalink
    14/09/2016 5:04 am

    Lynda Barry rocks! Just reading The Freddie Stories… essential stuff:

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      14/09/2016 1:34 pm

      I haven’t read those – will put them on my list


  1. Journalling and teaching — LET ME BE FRANK – albspirit

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