Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry

This book is brilliant, inspiring, playful and also incredibly strict, serious, and bold.

I can’t explain it — you just have to check it out, especially if you used to draw or doodle. It’s like a roadmap to a different way of thinking/processing the world. It’s like those creativity journals, but instead of empty space & fun promises, Syllabus is crammed with deep experience and practice and guidance and questions. You have to buy your own blank notebooks if you want to follow along.

That being said… I don’t see myself even attempting to follow the syllabus at all. But just knowing that the map exists, and that this destination of higher-awareness exists, makes things a tiny bit better. Like there’s an escape plan if I ever need one, and all I need is a box of crayons to get there.

Questions to Ponder: The Nature of Our Attention
🔲 What is concentration? And how do we figure out how to do it? Is it something we learn to do? What does it mean for a child to be able to concentrate on something that really interests them?
🔲 and What does it mean to have something captivate you?

Lynda Barry, Syllabus, p. 175

For some reason it took me over a year to finish reading the book, but I probably read it in three sittings. My reactions to the book:

  1. Wow this is amazing! This is so fun! I wish I had taken this class!
  2. Wow she’s so strict! (Can I be this strict?)
  3. Damn this is so much work. How did anyone get all this homework done? I would fail this class.
  4. I should check out these videos – I should by that pen – I wonder if I have that non-repro pencil…
  5. Why am I so much more excited to buy supplies than to do the actual drawing exercises?
  6. Would I have to find other people to do the drawing exercises with?
  7. I wish we lived in a society where learning how to see-create-express was a regular part of everyone’s life. (Until then, I’ll just see what’s on Instagram.)
  8. I need more space & more notebooks.
  9. Drew a spiral while on the phone with my mom.

It would be nice to draw again.

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