Minton's Playhouse
Loving Lynda Barry
Max with Lynda 9/17/02

A shabby little tribute to my favorite creative artist



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MAX with six of his favorite people in the world
from the SLHS Drama Club production of
"The Good Times are Killing Me"
Lydia, Tawney, Michelle, Kendra, Trina

LYNDA BARRY is the artist, writer, novelist, cartoonist, playwright, and performance artist who created the legendary "Ernie Pook's Comeek" and the novels "The Good Times Are Killing Me" and "Cruddy" and, just relased by Sasquatch Books, "100 Demons." Go to your nearest  independent book store and buy it imediately, because it is hilarious and heart-breaking and beautiful in more ways than I have words to talk about it.

Here is almost the entire cast of  "The Good Times Are Killing Me" February 2000


Kendra Johnson as Edna
"The Good Times Are Killing Me"

Lynda talks nice about teachers:
    LB: "... In my own life, no one ever did come to the rescue for anything. Ever. Probably the most important people for me, the heroes, were my teachers. But there is only so much they can do, and I was not an especially likable kid. I was oversensitive and freaked out easily, and I looked like Alfred E. Neuman. And I fell down a lot, so you kind of had to be a certain kind of person to like a kid like that. I had a first- and second-grade teacher, Mrs. LesenseI had her for two years who I really believe saved my life. I was normally at school before even the janitor then. Mrs. Lesense let me come into the room early and draw, and I stayed until she drove away in her car. She was a hero to me. She liked me, and it made a huge difference in my life to experience that. But after her, it wasn't until junior high that I had another teacher who liked me: Sally Wilma. And then high school, Mrs. Hughes. But other than those people and my art teacher in college, Marilyn Frasca, there wasn't anyone who came to the rescue... no one did besides those teachers."


I think Lynda was exactly the kind of kid I, as a teacher, would have loved.
And one of the ways a teacher can show love for all those kids who fall
down a lot is by presenting shows like "The Good Times Are Killing Me."
I thank Lynda Barry for making it possible for me to do that.
My own experience in school and with teachers was very much like Lynda's.
Lynda produced probably the most loving and beautiful bok ever written about an ultimate misfit kid: "The Freddie Stories" -- a work of profound affection and respect for a kid too easily cast off for being queer, gifted, poor and mental.
I don't think any other writer could ever have had enough love for Freddie.

Raychel as Cousin Ellen with Kendra in "The Good Times are Killing Me"


After we did The Good Times Are Killing Me on stage, some of the
cooler English teachers started teaching the novel in class instead of  
The Mayor of Casterbridge and Ethan Fromme. This can only be good.


Marlys is one of the principle characters of Ernie Pook's Comeek, and is one of the most fabulous, unique characters in contemporary literature. With both Id and Super-ego wildly out of control, she is the kid no other kid could ever like, but no reader could ever fail to love. Maybe this collection is the best introduction to Lynda's work -- her astonishing embrace of childhood's joy and horror and humor. You will feel like you stepped naked into Lynda's mind, but before you're finished, you'll realize that it is your own heart and your own mind that Lynda led you into.


Lynda's teaching: "I think a lot of people would love to make paintings, and write poems and stories, and sing and dance and do all of the things we call "the arts" but I think they have been made afraid by this idea that only professionals should do these things. It is one of the reasons people feel so broken into pieces. They have lost the courage to do the things that bring the feeling of wholeness. This is a tragedy! When I teach I talk about how writing and painting and singing and dancing are expressions of the same thing. We were born with it. Everyone was born with it! If you have children then you know about that beautiful fountain of spirit they have. Someone once said that human beings are like backwards flowers-- We are born in full bloom and slowly unripen into a hard bud. It doesn't have to be this way."

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read Lynda's books!
Read them because you will bring yourself great joy and
understanding and wonder. Read them because it is rightful
living to support the work of a great and loving artist. Read
them because I really, really want to live in a world where
more people have read Lynda Barry. BUT PLEASE BUY
Don't buy them from the great aswang --or Boarder's or
Barnes Noble. Go to that wonderful old no-name bookstore around the
corner -- the one being destroyed by all the big soulless chains...and I
speak as a whore and a junkie who has spent way too much money in
the evil brothel that is JUST FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE 

click to find YOUR independent book store

...and for a much bigger and better webpage about Lynda, click here:

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