Thursday, September 28, 2017

Book Review: Big Magic

 "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert is based on the premise that creative magic is all around us. Magical creative ideas are floating around us waiting for someone to grab on and make them a reality. 

It’s interesting but the first two sections of the book, I didn’t really buy. I’m more a believer in inspiration and God’s influence. But once I made it to the third section about giving yourself permission to be creative, I really started to enjoy the book. 

One of my very favorite quotes is how we can respond when doubt creeps in and we wonder what we are doing and why. Most creative people hit this roadblock at some point and multiple times. We wonder-
Why am I spending so much time on this writing/painting/music/etc?
I’m not any better or more creative than anyone else?
Is anyone going to care?
What if they don’t care?
What if I totally stink?
What am I doing?

Elizabeth Gilbert says:

"'Who the *bleep* do you think you are?' your darkest interior voices will demand.
"It's funny you should ask," you can reply. "I'll tell you who I am: I am a child of God, just like anyone else. I am a constituent of this universe. I have invisible spirit benefactors who believe in me, and who labor alongside me. The fact that I am here at all is evidence that I have the right to be here. I have a right to my own voice and a right to my own vision. I have a right to collaborate with creativity, because I myself am a product and a consequence of Creation. I'm on a mission of artistic liberation, so let the girl go."

I love that! It is my new creative mantra and gives me permission, validation, encouragement to keep creating.

Another quote I love is about being perfect.
"It starts by forgetting about perfect. We don't have time for perfect. In any event, perfection is unachievable: It's a myth and a trap and a hamster wheel that will run you to death. The writer Rebecca Solnit puts it well: 'So many of us believe in perfection, which ruins everything else, because the perfect is not only the enemy of the good; it's also the enemy of the realistic, the possible, and the fun'

As a writer, I also appreciated all the personal experiences she shared about her own writing and publishing life. One story that I got a kick out of was the background to her short story “Elk Talk.” I don’t want to give it away here, but it really is a great story. About the fickle world of publishing.

Big Magic is well written and Gilbert’s voice is so distinct, easy and fun to read. So, although I didn’t agree with everything in the book, I did appreciate a lot of it. 

I recommend this with a grain of salt. 

Another great quote is:
We all need an activity that is beyond the mundane and that takes us out of our established and limiting roles in society (mother, employee, neighbor, brother, boss, etc.). We all need something that helps us to forget ourselves for a while--to momentarily forget our age, our gender, our socioeconomic background, our duties, our failures, and all that we have lost and screwed up. We need something that takes us so far out of ourselves that we forget to eat, forget to pee, forget to mow the lawn, forget to resent our enemies, forget to brood over our insecurities. Praye rcan do that for us, community service can do it, sex can do it, exercise can do it, and substance abuse can most certainly do it (albeit with god-awful consequences)--but creative living can do it, too. Perhaps creativity's greatest mercy is this: By completely absorbing our attention for a short and magical spell, it can relieve us remporarily from the dreadful burden of being who we are. Best of all, at the end of your creative adventure, you have a souvenir--something that you made, something to remind you forever of your brief but transformative encounter with inspiration.

the story about "Elk Talk"

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