Slowing down 

In December, everything seems to speed up in as if time is running out. Then, after Christmas, there is a pause. It can seem as though there's no movement – the stillpoint of winter.  All sorts of things can happen in a space where not much seems to be happening. All you need to do …

The magic of each day

As a longtime diarist and notebook keeper, I was delighted to discover Writers And Their Notebooks (ed. Diana Raab) back in 2012. This collection of essays explores the various ways in which writers use their notebooks as a place of curiosity, self-discovery, and play. In 'Sea of blue ink', Kathryn Wilkens suggests giving a title to each diary. To maintain continuity, …

Doodling along with Lynda Barry

Ever since I read What It Is, I've been a big fan of Lynda Barry's wild and wonderful approach to creativity. Recently, I've been exploring new ways of making comics using her latest book, Syllabus, as a guide. Syllabus is a collection of class notes from the courses Barry has taught at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. These are no ordinary …

Lost in Translation

I recently received the gift of a beautiful book called Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders. The book is filled with words from different languages, each with a meaning that is hard to pin down yet specific at the same time. I opened the book expecting cerebral responses such as, …

‘What It Is’ and the power of stories

What is an experience? Is it something you have? Or something which has you? I don't think I have ever read anything quite like Lynda Barry's What it Is. Each page is a mixture of collage, cartoons, snippets of text, and handwritten notes. Interspersed throughout are sections of autobiographical material which tell the story of Barry's early creative …