English 430: Literature & the Visual Arts

December 15, 2009

Here’s “What It Is”

Filed under: Uncategorized — mpoverly @ 7:37 pm

What it is by Linda Berry

What it is, is a fantastic trip to the imagination where Linda Berry takes you easily with her truly festive and messy and perfect images but more importantly with her provoking questions. This book is a guide back to your childhood, an extraordinarily original breathtaking book that has the power to reconnect any willing person to explore and own her own perfect creativity. Berry instructs you on how to get out of your own way and write by getting mostly back to PLAY. Her questions often remind us of ACTION as on page 15 when she asks us “where are images found?” her answer is “Look, Read, See the ACTIONS inside you, the outside images are found by, in, through action between inside and outside” I love that idea because it fits for so many things in life. She pushes you into your pen and then guides you to delicious ideas until you can’t help but have created something if only a giggle.

Her writing technique seems to be a series of questions and then a playful wondering through the imagination with no real plot points or story but rather an engaging place to start. The message: there is no right or wrong or best or worst ways to write. Just do it. Page 47 asks, “where do characters come from?” and she answers with “follow a wondering mind.” The collage takes the reader from birds to houses to numbers and doodles…most importantly the doodles. Some of the collage is done in a lose comic book format and the words are written in what appears to be yellow post its, again assuring the reader of no wrong just wild creativity in an endless series of ‘anything goes’.

Berry reassures us that paper is cheep and that “writing is practicing a physical activity with a state of mind. We need something to practice upon, and an hour of time”(175). I know this book will be an inspiration to me for a long time coming. It is not a book to read from cover to cover, it is a book to savor, to spend time over the many pages while playing with her suggestions from the page and moving on to your own. So enjoy the notes, the rules the steps and the goals and the sheer creativity of What it is, I know I will!

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