Writers are artists too. It feels strange to type that out – as though the art community will point fingers and come at me armed with paint brushes to refute my claim – and it’s also a little sad that I feel like I have to.
I thought I’d write a brief post on this because it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.
From what I’ve seen, how you write is an art form – calligraphy and graffiti and the like – but the act of writing itself is often overlooked. It’s kept separate, like it’s an entirely different entity, when anyone who’s ever buried their face in a pillow after crying their eyes out at the final pages of a beloved book will know it creates the same emotional response that art does. Books tug at your heart strings. They make you think. They make you see things differently. They guide your imagination and allow you to see a whole world that exists only on paper and in your mind, a world that is unique to everyone.
We writers weave our thoughts onto a blank page and create whole worlds filled with colourful characters and fearsome creatures never thought of by anyone else. We spark the imaginations of readers and the talented among us plant seeds in those readers’ minds that grow and grow into something that becomes incredibly important to that person.
For me, there was a little seed called Harry Potter, planted by J.K. Rowling, and grown by me and a huge community of fans. I remember staying up until well into the night scrolling on a Potter forum discussing the books, talking about what houses we’d all be sorted into, thinking about all the weird and wonderful things that Rowling created and wishing we could be part of that world. I even set up an appreciation club with my cousin and made her take an ‘entrance exam’ to get in. She had to answer several sheets of in-depth questions about the books and had to achieve a non-negotiable score of 100%.
It sounds a little nutty, but reading and books produce this kind of passionate response time after time, whether it’s love or hate, just like a stunning painting or a sculpture or performance. It’s just a different kind of art. It’s mental, and like all art, it fills your heart and makes you cry and allows you to see things in ways you may not have ever thought of before. Art opens your mind.
The important thing to take from this is that you shouldn’t feel like any less of an artist just because you don’t wield a paintbrush. Writers are artists too, it’s just you don’t stare at a page in a book and see art, you read it and art fills you.