Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" by Elizabeth Gilbert

   I dig the title Big Magic, but in keeping with Liz Gilbert's blockbuster book that became a mega-hit movie, this book should be called "Feast, Meditate, Adore." Loved it!
   Gilbert serves up a buffet of practical but inspired advice on living your most creative life, no matter what mode of mojo that stirs your creative juices. Served up in small delicious helpings so you can graze instead of feeling stuffed with information, she takes you through all the courses needed to satisfy your creative appetite and keep you coming back for more: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and divinity.
   I devoured Big Magic in three days but spent a lot of time in ceiling-staring contemplation while the big ideas took their time sinking in. Gilbert seems to have had her act together even as a teenager in wanting to be a writer and committing to it no matter what, believing in herself and believing that if she courts inspiration, inspiration will find her again and again. Me? Not so much. Many of the lessons she imparts I've had to learn the hard way, through beating my head against the table where I write until there finally comes an "aha" moment from observing my patterns and seeing the big picture. So many things Gilbert teaches I still didn't know, and Big Magic will be my bible going forth to keep me on the creative path and save me from many head-beating headaches.
   I adore Gilbert's writing style, simple and succinct, but zesty with real-life anecdotes and delectable quotes. Some of my fave parts are "The Shit Sandwich," "Fierce Trust" -- the outcome cannot matter (I've already pinned this quote on my life tips cork board!) -- and the Liz Gilbert/Ann Patchett Amazonian mind-meld connection. There wasn't total adoration though. Gilbert challenged me, even shamed me on letting my ego get in the way and expecting rewards from something (creativity/inspiration) given to me freely. But these were lessons I needed to learn. She also pissed me off in dissing my dream of winning the lottery. She calls it "self-infantilizing." I call it "the hope of retirement," Sweetie. But I forgive her, and I'll keep buying those lottery tickets so someday I might be able to quit my day job and devote myself to becoming a writer half as good as Liz Gilbert. Until then, I will look in the mirror and say "I am a writer," I will sit down and put words on paper every day in the snippets of time I can find, and I will let myself PLAY with writing and whatever other creative inclinations that inspiration sends my way. I will remember:

"You are worthy, dear one, regardless of the outcome. You will keep making your work, regardless of the outcome. You will keep sharing your work, regardless of the outcome. You were born to create, regardless of the outcome. You will never lose trust in the creative process, even when you don't understand the outcome."

   Thanks, Liz!   

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