The Art of Disobedience: Essays on Form, Fiction, and Influence. The best art is always disobedient. The creative works that move us, compel us, provoke us, haunt us, and transform us—the works that matter most to us and that we cherish—break the rules in significant ways. Certainly, characters act out, act up, transgress, and misbehave. But the writer must also surprise, subvert, deconstruct, and engage in serious mischief, in terms of genre, form, or sensibility in order to make the familiar strange and the strange familiar. How do boundary genres—such as sudden fiction, flash-fiction, linked stories, and short story cycles—allow both reader and writer to move in liminal emotional and aesthetic spaces? Are all stories really, at heart, secrecy plots, with intricate patterns of revelation, reckoning, and recalibration? And what does it mean to be ecstatically engaged with and even haunted by artistic influences? In these essays, award-winning fiction writer K. L. Cook draws upon three decades of writing, teaching, and lecturing about creative writing to explore, from a writer’s perspective, significant issues of aesthetics, craft, form, process, influence, and what it means to spend a life in letters.