"All fiction is fan fiction."

This summer I devoured Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon's guide to the creative life.  It's a quick read, full of useful snippets of advice.  Here's my personal favorite:

"We make art because we like art. We're drawn to certain kinds of work because we're inspired by people doing that work.  All fiction is fan fiction."

He adds:

"Think about your favorite work and your creative heroes.  What did they miss?  What didn't they make?  What could've been better?  If they were still alive, what would they be making today?"

The idea of creation--making something out of nothing--can be daunting.  But is art ever really made out of nothing?  I'm with Kleon here: an artist's voice is forged from all the art she's ever consumed, filtered through her own experience/sensibility/imagination.  What fascinates her, what she's loved along the way, inevitably finds its way into her work.  Why not embrace that act of borrowing?

Here's more about Steal Like an Artist.


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