Writers, appreciate all things art

I’m an author, so I’m an artist by default. But I’m a very specific type of artist; not a painter or a sculptor or a singer or a poet. My creativity is expressed through sentences stitched together to make paragraphs which make chapters which make novels. Words are my tools. But that doesn’t mean I can only look to other authors to enhance my art.

I say this because I’ve noticed many artists tend to lean on art from their own “sphere” of creativity. I am finding this to be especially true among young authors just staring out; they tend to just read the works of their favorites and the “greats” to surround themselves with the spirit of creativity. Reading is great, of course, but it’s not the only way to get your muse going. As authors, we tell stories of life, and life itself is an art composed of many other arts. To write, you must live, and to live well you must experience much.

So if you’re a writer, go to a museum. Take a course on painting. Play a musical instrument. Sing, dance, sculpt. It doesn’t matter if you don’t end up good at these things; the important thing is to come to fully understand and appreciate them. Enjoy the art of life. Imbue your life with art of all forms, and your work will be better for it.

Mark Twain and his cat

Writers and cats

I’ve noticed something about writers. We tend to love cats.

That’s not to say there aren’t dog-loving scribes out there; surely there are. But there seems to be a disproportionate number of us who love cats.

Every now and then, Buzzfeed posts a vapid clickbait article about famous writers and their cats. And I admit that one of my guilty pleasures is reading such things. But even in my own network of writers I follow on Twitter, I’ve noticed a lot of cat love. Urban fantasy writer Seanan McGuire often posts tales and pics of her cats. Sci-fi scribe John Scalzi is also a cat lover. Neil Gaiman is also a big cat fan, frequently writing about cats in his novels with a certain level of admiration. One of his favorite quotes of mine:

“‘No,’ said the cat. ‘Now, you people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.’”
—Neil Gaiman, Coraline

Is there something about this mysterious, aloof creatures that we writers have an affinity with? Do we look into those slitted eyes and see something that sparks creativity, or do we just enjoy having an animal around that doesn’t require much maintenance?

One of life’s great mysteries.