I still have the letter Barry wrote me back (enclosed with my signed original of "Graceful Pose Marlys"). It's a real letter, not one of those depressing form deals, and Barry is every bit as warm and awesome as you'd expect her to be. I can't even hold it against her that her novel, Cruddy, may have permanently damaged me.
So of course I read this recent interview with Barry in The New York Times from start to finish. It's a nice write-up, even if they did use the word "spunky" to describe Marlys. It's kind of too bad that she's become so reclusive (she and her husband live on a dairy farm, growing most of their own food and even chopping their own wood for fuel), but hey, whatever makes her happy.
On the plus side for the rest of us, she has a new book coming out, What It Is, which explains her method of making drawings and stories. I'll be grabbing a copy, but what I really wish is that I could attend Barry's workshop, "Writing the Unthinkable":
Taking the workshop, which Ms. Barry teaches several times a year, is a bit like witnessing an endurance-performance piece. Aided by her assistant, Betty Bong (in reality, Kelly Hogan, a torch singer who lives in Chicago), Ms. Barry sings, tells jokes, acts out characters and even dances a creditably sensual hula, all while keeping up an apparently extemporaneous patter on subjects like brain science, her early boy-craziness, her admiration for Jimmy Carter and the joys of menopause.As Marlys would say, daaang.