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for my girl Lynda Barry, the best cartoonist in the universe: a love letter from Wacky Mommy

October 27th, 2011

Lynda Barry, how I love thee. Let me count the ways:

1) In the beginning, there was Poodle with a Mohawk. (“He knew what people thought of his kind: ‘High Strung. ‘Spoiled Rotten.’ ‘French.'”)

2) Then there were Marlys and Maybonne, who always managed to comfort me as they comforted themselves.

3) There was the time I caught a special about Lynda Barry on cable TV. She was introducing an audience to some of her big paintings, and she was amazing, the way she talked about her art. “See? In this one, she’s saying, ‘Perdon?'” She was cracking herself up and I thought, You can be an artist and really have some fun with it. And if people don’t like your stuff, or say it doesn’t count, well, screw ’em. (Honestly, I was already getting that reaction from a lot of people about my writing. Too domestic, too much cussing, and then there was my complete and total refusal to re-write The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and claim it as my own. I do love Coleridge, Wordsworth and Donne, but my style is… my own style.)

4) I just really liked the way she put art + words together, and I loved how gritty her work was.

5) Lynda Barry is the best combination of fearless + goofy.

6) Her essay, “The Sanctuary of School,” is one of the finest essays I have ever read.

7) Just fyi: She went to the Evergreen State College. Their mascot is the geoduck. (Pronounced “gooey-duck,” for those of you not from these parts.)

8) She is friends with cartoonist Matt Groening.

9) My old friend Nina and I used to clip Lynda Barry’s cartoons out of the papers and mail them to each other, from the west coast to the east coast and vice-a versa-a.

10) You can pre-order her book, “Blabber Blabber Blabber.”

11) “Well, you little bad asses. How about that?” — Lynda Barry

Wacky Mommy, out.

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