I promised a Big Magic Review so to not disappoint…I greatly enjoyed Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Big Magic is just that, magic! Liz has created an inspiring, interesting, thought provoking read. (I think she would be okay with me being personal and calling her Liz since we are best friends, though she possibly doesn’t know that…but doesn’t she evoke that feeling in a lot of us?) I especially like this book for us RAgers, because I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly feeling the speed of time these days and encouragement to live my creative life to it’s fullest is just what the doctor SHOULD order!
The book is divided into seven parts. Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, Divinity and there are gems within each section for sure. In Courage, she explains why we need fear (got to keep ourselves safe) but that some fear is just what we do to ourselves, and so we have to get past it because “…life is short and rare and amazing and miraculous, and you want to do really interesting things and make really interesting things while you’re still here.” Yes I do! I also found the idea of working no matter if you fail or not, to be enlightening just because so many of us, including moi, are scared of failure.
I’ve read some reviews that found the Enchantment section too “woo woo” for them, but hey, find the fun in life, don’t take things so seriously. Believe that maybe ideas are floating around out there and looking for some place to land, and maybe that idea will land with you! There’s a lot more to the section than this, but you’ll see what I mean when you read it.
Give yourself Permission, don’t ask anyone for it and then be Persistent. And Liz means Persistence with a big ole capital ‘P’! I get side tracked and discouraged and wait for the right time, etc. etc…but I got a good kick in the pants in this section, especially when it comes to perfectionism. Defeats me every time. She also emphasizes the idea of writing for self to be more important than writing for others, which probably would have helped my first book be stronger if I had known this little bit of magic.
Trust is big here. It’s more than just trusting in yourself. Liz makes no bones about not falling prey to suffering and martyrdom for your art. Please, who needs to live a life like that? I found this really freeing to me, because I have had some really tough stuff to deal with in my life, but I have to be real about the fact that I’ve had lots of great breaks, and good fortune and been smart about my choices, and sometimes I have felt like that means I can’t be a good writer because I haven’t suffered enough. (Going to University in the late 80’s early 90’s when victimhood was a “must” to be taken seriously really screwed with my brain, but I’ve booted that out, and Liz helped me get the last shards!) She also talks about “Devotion to Inquisitiveness.” Never, never, never stop being inquisitive. Seriously. What was the last thing you had an interest in and went gung-ho researching on the subject? I love learning new things and I hope you do too! The encouragement is in Big Magic if you need a push!
And Divinity, I’ll let you read that, but let me just say, blurring the lines is a good thing.
Liz encourages the artist in each of us to work through the difficulties we all face, no matter our art, no matter our angst, or lack thereof; we can all find our Big Magic. Sure, this book won’t be for everyone, but I thought it was lovely, and inspiring, and just the magic I needed. I highly recommend to anyone who is open to, well, magic.
Here’s to creating you’re own Big Magic! If you don’t have a copy you can click here to purchase. If you like this, please share with your friends and join me in the Radical Aging FB group. We are starting some great discussions over there! Click for group