When you know creative people (Part 1 of 2)

CatCat1The best thing about being friends with brilliant, creative people is that they will never question your eccentric lifestyle/ pastimes. They’re the people who don’t give you a hard time because you spend your nights at home writing your novel. They might chuckle when you decide to buy a dollhouse for your cat, but they follow that chuckle by letting you borrow their car to pick up said dollhouse. They can appreciate the humor in your unorthodox adventures, without feeling the need to make you the butt of their jokes.

Thankfully, I know a lot of these people.

What I’ve also come to realize is the extent to which creative people inspire creative people. Art–writing in particular–can feel like a lonely venture, and it’s not terribly far-fetched to feel imposed upon by your work. Some nights, I feel as though I’m dredging my imagination, with very little to show for it.

Which is why I was delighted to learn that one of my oddball adventures actually served as inspiration for the first chapter of my friend and collaborator Mignon Khargie’s second book. (The first, The Biggest Adventure in the Littlest World, is available on Amazon.) To avoid giving too much away, I’ll just quote Mignon’s Tumblr post which says:

Meet Cat Cat, the inspiration behind an entire rewrite of chapters 1-4, book 2: The Dome of Tubes (the dollhouse is just as essential).

I’m pretty much dancing with joy that a) I was able to help fuel the creativity of one of the most talented people I know, b) Cat Cat is now undeniably a bonafide literary feline with all attendant privileges and responsibilities, and c) I have added justification for buying a dollhouse for my cat.

I’ve also begun to realize that my mom was correct when she used to tell me “Birds of a feather flock together.” I know, I know, it’s such an unforgivably sitcom thing to say, but I’ve started to realize that my life is filled with artists who inspire me. And not in some vague, generic way either. Knowing people who write books helps confirm that it is possible. Dating a photographer significantly expands my creative reach. Without him, I’d be plagued by ideas and projects I’m not talented enough to bring to fruition. Knowing painters and choreographers and actors who overcome any and all obstacles to bring their work to the public forces me to overcome my occasional desire to whine like a spoiled brat about how hard it is to find your voice, find your audience, etc. Because they do it. Every day. And many of them have been doing it for a lot longer than I have.

It’s important to me that I inspired someone, and especially someone I respect as much as Mignon, because so many have helped me along my own path, whether they realize it or not. And I hope, when the words won’t come, when the canvas looms large and blank, when long hours of Photoshop stretch endlessly before them, that they recognize that they’re part of something bigger than their book, bigger than their painting, bigger than their photograph. And I hope that realization gives them the courage and strength to continue fighting. (Although, I sometimes wish someone would invent a steroid I could take to help battle writer’s block.)

(Part 2 of “When you know creative people” will address the terribly important role of creativity in gift giving.)

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Comments

  1. Hi Ashley, it’s great you’re in SLO. One of my oldest [English] friends has lived there for years. It’s a great town! SD

    • It’s a really convenient place in terms of becoming involved with the local artistic community and getting to know everyone. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that it’s neither too big nor too small. I know a couple of English people living here as well, by the way!

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