Poet and scholar Tanis MacDonald has taught creative writing for twenty years all across Canada: in small community workshops, large university classes and everything in between. The question she's heard the most is "How can I be a writer?" and she realized early on that this question had nothing to do with putting words on a page. Out of Line is her answer to this question. This book is about creativity and community, about what it is like to try and pick up a pen, or a paintbrush, and create art for the first time when you don't come from a background with access to the arts. In this wide-ranging work, MacDonald looks at our societal preconceptions about the artist lifestyle and examines how real artists fit into the everyday world. Along the way she walks the reader through the steps that must be taken for an idea to make it from a concept to a finished piece and what happens once the work is out in the world. But Out of Line also tackles how issues such as class and the rural-urban divide can structure our interactions with the arts. MacDonald examines the experiences artists have, whether beginners or established, in finding a community to support them and celebrate their work outside of the major urban centres where the industry has traditionally been clustered. In the end, Out of Line works to open up the arts to everyone who might dream of creating.
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