Published by Bloomsbury on September 22nd 2015
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.
Words will probably never be able to describe the beauty that is Big Magic. People have fawned over it high and low, but it’s one of those things you just need to experience for yourself. Whether you’re a writer, a painter, a quilter, a pottery-maker, a dancer, a singer, a circus artist, or anything else that could be considered even remotely creative, you need to pick up this book. You need to read it carefully, slowly, fully, and let it seep into your core. Trust the words. Trust the Magic. (Totally didn’t mean to sound like a cultist there.)
“Pure creativity is something better than a necessity; it’s a gift. It’s the frosting. Our creativity is a wild and unexpected bonus from the universe. It’s as if all our gods and angels gathered together and said, “It’s tough down there as a human being, we know. Here–have some delights.”
It’s as if Elizabeth Gilbert stared into my soul and wrote the book I needed. Because I love to write – more so, I love to have written – but I’m afraid it’ll be bad, but I’m afraid nobody will like it, but I’m afraid I won’t finish it, but, but, but. And so I don’t create. And then what?
Gilbert tells you that it’s okay to be afraid, that fear is part of living a creative life, but it shouldn’t inhibit you. And I think I just really needed to hear that, because I found it extremely comforting and affirming to read this. On the one hand, I wanted to binge-read the book so I could have all the words at once, but in the end, I read it slowly, so I could cherish all the words.
“You want to write a book? Make a song? Direct a movie? Decorate poetry? Learn a dance? Explore a new land? You want to draw a penis on your wall? Do it. It’s your birthright as a human being, so do it with a cheerful heart.”
I’m normally not this “floaty” about the books I read, but this was something truly special and I’d recommend this book to anyone who needs that little nudge in the back. To motivate you to start again or to keep going, to go for it. Not necessarily because it should amount to anything, but for the fun of it. Creating should be fun, not stressful. Creating is something you work with like a colleague, not something you demand stuff of at your every whim.
And sometimes, you get that strike of inspiration and the words flow and everything is unicorns and ponies and you hit that high that you’ve been working towards all along. That, my friends, is Big Magic. That is what we all strive for. And I think I finally understand my relationship with my creativity a bit better.
“If your goal in life is to become fearless, then I believe you’re already on the wrong path, because the only truly fearless people I’ve ever met were straight-up sociopaths and a few exceptionally reckless three-year-olds – and those aren’t good role models for anyone.”