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Thousand Cats Creative Collective

doing strange things in the name of art

Thousand Cats
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All Members

What It's All About:

This group was originally the online extension of an in-person group that had semi-regular meetings in Toronto, though since being revived after a long hiatus, it's more of an online entity these days. But when it originally started, those present at the first meeting decided on some basic principles:
  1. The group is not specific to any one medium, but open to any kind of creative work -- visual arts, writing, performance, film/video, etc.

  2. We don't accept the sometimes arbitrary distinctions made between different kinds of creative work: fine art vs. crafts, genre fiction vs. "real" literature, etc. Again, any kind of creative endeavour is OK.

  3. People sharing their work in the context of the group want to receive real, substantive feedback, not just "that's nice", but criticism that is constructive not destructive. The aim is to help us all improve our work, not to attack each other or offer empty praise.

  4. People are encouraged to try their hand at as many different media as possible and be open to new things. If you consider yourself predominantly a writer, for example, that doesn't mean you can't also participate in visual arts projects, or vice-versa. Experimentation is good. But no one has to participate in anything they're not comfortable with, and people should be wary of trying to do so many different things at once that they never really finish anything.

  5. We should try to give equal time to everyone's work -- not necessarily at each and every meeting, but overall. Everyone should be encouraged to participate and have their turn in the spotlight.

  6. We're open to a variety of different kinds of content as well as format. Some of us may be involved in the goth scene, BDSM or other "dark" subcultures, but that doesn't mean the group's focus is entirely on that kind of work. However, we are open to it and people shouldn't be afraid to explore work that may be considered dark, disturbing or controversial if that's what they want to do.

I think a fair bit of that is still relevant to the group in its current form. Since its revival, we've seen more writing than anything else, which is fine, but other media are welcome too. And since it's no longer a predominantly local, face-to-face group, new members are welcome, even if they don't happen to live in the Toronto area. I've left membership set to moderated so that I know who's joining, but anyone who's interested in participating is welcome.

Oh, and where the name comes from:

"I have spoken to one cat, and to many. And wherever I have gone, my message is the same... Dream it! Dream the world. Not this pallid shadow of reality. Dream the world the way it truly is. A world in which all cats are queens and kings of creation. That is my message."

A Dream of a Thousand Cats, Neil Gaiman