Out of Line: Daring to be an Artist Outside the Big City
250 pages | ISBN 978-1-928088-59-2
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. 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. Out of Line opens up the arts to everyone who might dream of creating.
Tanis MacDonald on How We Can Expand Our Idea of the Writing Life to Include Smaller Communities (Open Book, 01/08/2018)
"A book title should do two things, initially in sequence and eventually simultaneously. It should draw in the reader with curiosity and then it should recur with an altered meaning that’s revealed after the reader’s finished the book. The title should foster a palimpsest of meanings: first you see one layer, then the other, then all of them. A good title should keep on giving."
An Artistic Practice (Shawna Lemay, Transactions with Beauty, 03/09/2018)
"'How do you establish and sustain an artistic practice when the circumstances of your life seem to oppose it? Or, put more plainly, how do you make art when you come from an artless place?' This is the opening to Tanis MacDonald’s book, Out of Line: Daring to be an Artist Outside the Big City. I wish I had this book when I'd started out in my so-called writing career. But it's also worthwhile for those further along, to know that they have company, from wherever it is they have left, whatever sized city, to find themselves part of the literary community."
Tanis MacDonald: surviving as an "out-of-line" artist in a smaller community (Tanis MacDonald, Quill & Quire, September 2018)
"Makers in out-of-line communities need to make our practice evident and public; we need to defy relocation as a requirement for making art."
Tanis MacDonald on Alice Munro (Tanis MacDonald, many gendered mothers, 30/04/2018)
"Claiming Alice Munro as an early influence is a bit like claiming God as your co-pilot. Believe me, I know all about praising of Munro’s skill so unequivocally that there’s no room to do anything but agree or pronounce yourself a hater."
Tanis MacDonald: one poem (Lec, Lemonhound 3.0, 15/03/2018)
Tanis shares her poem "Sybill Elegies."
About the Author
Originally from Winnipeg, Tanis MacDonald now lives in Waterloo, Ontario, where she teaches Canadian literature and creative writing at Wilfrid Laurier University. She won the Bliss Carman Poetry Prize in 2003, was a finalist for the Gabrielle Roy Prize in 2013 for her book The Daughter's Way and was the recipient of the Robert Kroetsch Teaching Award in 2017. She is co-editor (with Rosanna Deerchild and Ariel Gordon) of GUSH: menstrual manifestos for our times for Frontenac House. Widely published as a scholar and a reviewer, her fourth poetry book, Mobile, is coming out with BookThug in Fall 2019.