Friday, October 5, 2012

Lynda Barry teaches creativity for writers

"Writing the Unthinkable." It was a thought-provoking title for Lynda Barry's workshop offered last weekend as part of the Vancouver Writers Fest.

Lynda talks about the different brain aspects she calls front of mind and back of mind, and teaches how to tap into the non-thinking side of the brain to promote creativity. Lynda herself is a cartoonist, a novelist and a teacher. As a presenter, she is sincere, engaging and hilarious.

Participants were given food for thought. We humans are changing our brains as we do less and less of such brain friendly activity as rhythmic movement and singing. Throughout history, every culture has sung and danced, but now, we believe creativity is owned by talented entertainers, so we suppress our individual creative gifts.

Lynda's creativity, though, is in full swing. This year she has made a coup in her inroads into academia. "I have wormed my way into the science department," she said. The University of Wisconsin at Madison didn't know where to offer her course. Last year it could be counted as an arts elective, or an English course. This year, it can also count as a science credit.

"Everybody should know this stuff," she said, as with a few tricks she got her audience writing short vignettes we didn't know we had in us.

Want to journal but don't have time? Try Linda's quick and easy version. The four-minute daily journal, she says, is a practice that promotes creativity. Check it out here. If you do it every day, Lynda promises, "you'll start to notice what you notice."

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