LYNDA BARRY: "From 'loner' to 'glitter-covered ham' in less than an hour."

The Olympian – November 03, 2008

Author Lynda Barry sets visions free
by Molly Gilmore

Cartoonist and writer Lynda Barry, an alumna of The Evergreen State College, will return to Olympia on Wednesday to promote a new book.

Barry, who now lives on a dairy farm near Footeville, Wis., is on tour for “What It Is.” She’s best-known for “Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” which was first published in the Cooper Point Journal in Olympia.

Who was responsible for that? “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, then editor of the Cooper Point Journal.

In advance of her appearance at Evergreen, Barry agreed to an interview via e-mail. (She refuses to use the phone “unless absolutely necessary.”) She talked about her book, her comics, her days at Evergreen – and her new passion, fighting wind turbines.

Question: Why do you avoid the phone?

Answer: I’ve always gotten a sick feeling when the phone rang, ever since I was a kid. Some of my earliest memories are of being right there when especially horrible news came via the telephone. It’s the first time I remember seeing my parents crying really hard and looking out of control and that scared me pretty badly. So the phone has always seemed like a possible monster to me.

But I loved trying to win radio dial-in contests for tickets to concerts or movies. I won our Thanksgiving turkey five years in a row from the radio station. They’d play a turkey gobble right in the middle of a song, and when you heard it you had to be the fifth caller. Actually, a turkey gobble going off in the middle of a pop song is a good idea any time of year.

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