Students’ work is meant to stand on its own, without criticism, revision or, in fact, revisitation. Barry insists that students not reread their writing until the entire course has concluded. “While you’re writing, you’re having this experience,” Barry explained. “But when you read it, all you can think about is, Is my baby defective?” Sometimes, she said, babies just need time to open their eyes.

“Because when he put his hand out and I touched it, I realized I had stepped through the circle. I was on the other side of the circle, the place where I wanted to be. And how I got there was I drew a picture.” She smiled and held her arms out. “The reason I’m standing here in Florida in 2011 is because I drew a picture and wrote some words. The reason you all are here is because you’re interested in doing the same thing. When I think about all the things that this image world has brought me… . I mean, I don’t have health insurance, and dental work is really an issue, but the feeling that life is worth living? Being in this class gives me that in spades.”

she realized there’s no difference between what she viewed as Franzen’s dismissal of lowbrow readers and her dismissal of highbrow Franzen. “It’s just I’m doing it from below, and he’s doing it from above.”

Do Writers, with a capital W, look down on her students? “Absolutely. I have a real chip on my shoulder about that — the idea that some things aren’t art. It’s from growing up poor. You run into that your whole life — people of my background and education can’t participate.


Kois, D. (2011, October 27). Lynda Barry Will Make You Believe In Yourself. The New York Times. [](