Book Reviews, Life

Review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I first fell in love with Big Magic on page 9. This isn’t really true, because I was listening to the book the first time around, but now that I’m re-reading it in print, I can tell you it’s page 9.

elizabeth-gilbert-big-magic1When I talk about “creative living” here, please understand that I am not necessarily talking about pursuing a life that is professionally or exclusively devoted to the arts. I’m not saying that you must become a poet who lives on a mountaintop in Greece, or that you must perform at Carnegie Hall, or that you must win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. … No, when I refer to “creative living,” I am speaking more broadly. I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.

It continued from there, Gilbert making me fall in love chapter after chapter, and more terrifyingly, becoming desperate to create despite being in the middle of a nine-hour drive home for Thanksgiving. It was hard.

Gilbert breaks down the creative process: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity. More self-help than psychology or art, Big Magic hits the big emotional notes often. (Again — a huge challenge while driving, as note taking is also frowned upon by the Nebraska State Patrol.)

I live a moderately creative life. I do crafts at work. I do crafts at home. I write. I take photographs. Every time I touch this book — in print, in audio, or in reviews — I want to do more of those things. Gilbert reminds us that we make things because we like making things. It doesn’t need to be world-shattering art; it can just be your art. She will give you permission (literally) to go make things.

So go. Go read or listen and then make. Just do it. Because Elizabeth Gilbert said so.

More info

Description: 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.

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