Happy New Year! Welcome back to the blog!
Last MileHi Con, I moderated a panel about other creative outlets writers have. Because it turns out a lot of writers do other amazing creative work. It seems counterintuitive — wouldn’t someone who spends their professional life being creative want to do something a little less, well, mentally strenuous in her down time? On the contrary, writing and other creative activities seem to go hand in hand. Remember Lynn talking about how quilting and storytelling are the same? Sasha’s a photographer. Novelist Janny Wurts also paints her own covers. Oh, to have that ability! Author and editor Terri Windling is also an artist of note. Many artists are also musicians. Emma Bull has played in bands, no doubt a big influence on her novel War for the Oaks, which is about a folk-rock band. Fellow Wild Cards writer Stephen Leigh is an avid musician. And of course there’s the Rock Bottom Remainders, the occasional rock band made up of bestselling authors like Stephen King and Amy Tan.
For me, the other creative things that I do besides writing — crafting and costuming — use different parts of my brain. When I sit down with fabric and yarn and patterns, I can almost feel a different part of my brain switching on — a tactile, physical part. I’m using my hands, and the things I make are physical and instantly apparent, unlike a novel or a story, which at most exist on a flat sheet of paper, and still need my intellectual brain to experience it. Unlike handling a skein of yarn. I must admit, I also love the instant gratification of working for a few hours and ending up with a scarf or a skirt I can show off.
Also, it’s really nice to do something creative that I don’t have to put out there, that I know isn’t going to be judged. That I can just do without trying to make it the best. I get the satisfaction of being creative, and my writing brain still gets the rest it needs.
Some days, I really need to step away from the keyboard, and it’s nice to have the distraction. And nice to have something to show for it (unlike what happens when I just sit in front of the TV for a couple of hours).
Here’s the nifty scarf I made last fall, which became a gift to a friend. Not bad for just having learned to knit last spring! See, first I learned how to spin wool. . .then I needed to learn to knit so I could do something with all that wool yarn I was making. . .
Do you have a much needed artistic distraction?