Big Magic

BigMagicBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Elizabeth Gilbert
Riverhead Books (September 22, 2015), 285 pages
Kindle edition $11.99, Amazon hardcover $13.72

From the author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things, Big Magic is part paen to creativity and part cheerleading self-help book encouraging readers to move forward with their creative process.

Gilbert emphasizes that creativity is not about money or fame. She writes about a friend who wanted to get back into figure skating later in life. She tells us:

quotePlease note that my friend did not quit her job, did not sell her home, did not sever all her relationships and move to Toronto to study seventy hours a week with an exacting Olympic-level skating coach. And no, this story does not end with her winning any championship medals. It doesn’t have to. In fact, this story does not end at all, because Susan is still figure skating several mornings a week—simply because skating is still the best way for her to unfold a certain beauty and transcendence within her life that she cannot seem to access in any other manner. And she would like to spend as much time as possible in such a state of transcendence while she is still here on earth. That’s all. That’s what I call creative living.

The rest of the book builds on this. It’s not about money, fame, or glory. It’s about doing creative work because you want to. Gilbert tells us: “Here’s what I’m getting at, dear ones: You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.”

She reminds us that while we experience “fairy dust” at times, “Most of my writing life consists of nothing more than unglamorous, disciplined labor. I sit at my desk and I work like a farmer, and that’s how it gets done.”

This is not a book of great substance. But if you want a shot in the arm to encourage you to get back into the creative process, it is well worth the price.

2 Comments on “Big Magic”

  1. I’d like to read this – so I am grateful for your assessment. Part of me worried that it would be too much fluff, but knowing what you’ve told me helps me to have the right expectations. And how I could use a shot in the arm right now!

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