Or you hear a song.
Right, it's so specific that if we just could freeze it, you'd realize that you're not looking at a picture of it, you're actually in it. And then I could say to you, "What's in front of you? What's behind you? What time of day is it, what season?" And you'll know. So when you see that, an image as a place —
It's like how I can find anything in the house I grew up in, that we don't live in anymore. I knew exactly where my hairbrush is, twenty years ago.
Yeah! Isn't that weird? You know where the phone is, right? And that place is in the image world, and then you see the image world isn't up in the sky, it's in the exact same place we are. My friend Kelly Hogan, she sometimes helps me teach, and the way she describes the writing class is, [laughing, puts on hippie voice] "Blow your mind — with your own mind!"
Yeah! And I feel, whenever I'm talking about this stuff or teaching it, I feel very upbeat and positive about the world, you know what I mean? It makes me feel happy.
Oh god, I'm so glad.
Yeah! It just comes back to this biological function, where I think it really does have something to do with making us want to stay alive, you know — keeping us from killing ourselves or others.
Well, about a third into your last book, there's this picture of a kid in a parka, facedown on the ground. And the caption is —
Mm-hm. "Get me my mom"?
— Yes. And I don't know if everyone had that moment, or if it was just expressed so clearly —
That was one of those pictures, you know how I was talking about just drawing stuff on the side? A lot of the little pictures that you see in Picture This came while I was trying to figure out the more important things. So that one kicked around for a while, and then I said "Oh, just put it in. It doesn't have to mean anything."
Well, there's no explanation needed. You don't need to know what happened to that kid, you are that kid. I was reading that, and I showed it to a friend, and we were like, "Oh god, we need to find Lynda Barry and just give her a hug."
[Laughter.]Well, I'm very friendly. Once I get off the farm, I realy am just like a dog who can't wait to meet everyone — including even just pictures of people. And then I like to come back here and just be a total hermit and not see anybody for weeks, so I'm that combo.
So are you psyched about this thing at Wellesley?
Yes! Hillary Shute is brilliant, and Alison [Bechdel] is brilliant, so it's going to be an, um, estrogen-special. I've never been to Wellesley before.
Oh, it's nice. I used to go to a summer camp there, where they taught us to climb over walls and stuff.
Oh, fun! that was something I did a lot when I was a kid. Just climbing anything.
Trees, buildings . . .
Cars! They yelled at ya, because you could dip the top of a car pretty easy by jumping, but . . .