Today’s post is a review of a great book, Big Magic. I hope you read through it, and maybe you can leave me some feedback if you have read it, too, or if you want to read it. Enjoy!
Recently, my friend Ashley lent me her copy of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
by Elizabeth Gilbert. She’s that woman who wrote Eat, Pray, Love. To be honest, I haven’t read her most famous best seller despite being a supporter of all three of those aspects of life, but anyway… I really enjoyed her work on Big Magic and I’d like to tell you about it.
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links for Amazon.
Big Magic Overview
First, for those who don’t really want to read my entire commentary, I’ll give you my general opinion.
I felt like it was a little superficial at times, just scratching the surface of creative genius in talking about creative genius… yet it just kept falling short at getting to the meat of the creativity process. It’s all good in the end, though. Ms. Gilbert knocked it out of the park in the last several chapters. Big Magic is highly recommended in my book. 😀
I’ve never read poetry, but I think I would like to read some of Jack Gilbert’s stuff. He’s not related to her. No worries.
The Road Trip
The gist is– creativity and fear go on a road trip with me. Fear: you’re important, I see your purpose in life, but creativity and me are the ones driving this bus. Don’t even touch the radio. That’s summarized, but it is a great analogy.
When inspiration asks you to join, and you say yes, let it to grow within you how it wants, but be sure to cultivate it, nurture it, keep it alive.
Your Day Job (page 152)
Just because you want to lead a creative life doesn’t mean that you should (or have) to rely on it for income or your sole purpose in life. Creativity exists as a part of my life to increase my fulfillment as a person.
The Old Woman’s Wise Words (page 174)
We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won’t be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth–nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow.
My take: create for you. Create for your pleasure. Graciously accept feedback if it is offered, but create for your happiness!!
Done Is Better Than Good
Immediately after the above section, Gilbert says some things about Done Is Better Than Good. With Big Magic, I think we should put the emphasis on our creations and releasing them into the world to do what they want to do. Here’s how I see it: we can all be afraid to create something… we can all be scared that it won’t be enough. BUT, what if we consider not ever creating anything due to our fears. Done is better than good. Creating is better than idling.
I do not believe in crooked house. Sorry, Ms. Gilbert. Measure twice, cut once. No crooked houses.
Trust and Stubborn Gladness (page 218)
Trust your creative process. Ms. Gilbert writes that she believes that with Big Magic, “my work loves me as much as I love it,” and I believe in that mantra, too. Blank pages love to be colored. Lego houses love to be built, guitars adore being played. My blog loves to be published. Am I getting traffic? No? It’s okay. I’m adopting stubborn gladness and keeping with my creativity. Maybe my blog will grow? Yay! But if not, I’ll still keep creating. Because it is fun!
Passion vs. Curiosity
Do you have a passion? I don’t. I get irritated when people insist others find a passion, just like Elizabeth Gilbert believes. I just like being curious!!! I will not color every day of my life, but I might spend a weekend coloring on the couch. I might spend a week painting wooden crafts. Or I might spend some time learning a new instrument. Just be interested in living… be interested in cultivating the inspiration & ideas that light on your shoulders.
Big Magic Summary
I want you to note the difference between my car and my “off road vehicle”. One is a success. The other is just… well… done. The yellow one was a product of instructions. The blue was just a product of happenstance. These lego vehicles won’t change the world, and I’m okay with that. I was just creating to create. Creating out of love for nostalgia. Creating because I wanted to.
In the future, I will sometimes have trouble creating words for this blog. And that’s fine. I’ll just try to keep creating. If you made it this far in this post, congrats. You win no prize, sorry, except for this nugget of advise:
Don’t quit because it’s hard, or because you’re not ablaze with passion. Just create something, anything at all. Create and reveal in all its success, or just that it exists at all. Just CREATE!! Go build an ugly Lego vehicle. Paint some crafts. Use power tools. Be open to the Big Magic that exists around you. And don’t forget to enjoy the process. Big Magic will feed your soul as much as you are open to its nourishment.