"The Arts Are Like An External Immune System"

“The fastest way I can explain it is that there is this brilliant neuroscientist named V. S. Ramachandran, who wrote a book called Phantoms in the Brain. He was very interested in people with phantom-limb pain, and he had one patient who had lost his hand from the wrist down, but the guy’s sensation was not only that the hand was still there, but that it was in a painful fist that kept clenching. Ramachandran built a box, with a mirror and two holes in one side. When the guy put his arms in, he saw the one hand reflected. When he opened the hand, he saw it open and it was like the missing hand was unclenching. It fixed his phantom-limb sensation. That’s what I think images do; that’s what the arts do. In the course of human life we have a million phantom-limb pains — losing a parent when you’re little, being in a war, even something as dumb as having a mean teacher — and seeing it somehow reflected, whether it’s in our own work or listening to a song, is a way to deal with it.”
 — This interview with the great Lynda Barry is, sadly, all too brief, but you take what you can get. Because, c’mon, it’s Lynda Barry.