Title: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Writing, Art, Inspirational, Psychology, Spirituality, Autobiography, Memoir, Personal Development
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Published: September 22, 2015
Page Amount: 288 pages
Blurb From Goodreads: 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.
Why Read: I haven’t been meaning to read this book at all. I’ve known about it, of course, and I debated – but given she was the writer that penned Eat Pray Love… I had my doubts. However, I was discussing books with a friend one day and she mentioned something about a book about Creativity. I thought hm, she probably means this book (which it turns out, she did not), and gave it a shot on audiobook.
Review: Long story short – this book is seriously awesome. Self-help books are not my thing. Usually I find them kind of boring, we all “know” what we have to in order to get better at do things: do more work, spend more time practicing, etc. etc.. What made this book different for me was listening to it. Elizabeth Gilbert’s voice laughing with the reader about her experiences and about her failures and magical success is something of a triumph in itself. It is difficult to explain how exactly she does it, but her passion is so clearly intoned in every word, and I found myself nodding, laughing and thinking – she’s right.
Creativity is all about fear. We’re scared about doing things, and it holds us back. It is not enough to acknowledge the fear, you have to face it down and talk to it. I think my favorite line in the whole book (paraphrased) was: You take fear and creativity with you on every path you take, and you have to sit fear down beforehand to say. Fear: you are invited on this journey but you will never be in the drivers seat. As someone who has a somewhat unnatural fear of doing anything out of her comfort zone, I really empathized with Gilbert.
Some of the sections on creativity and inspiration moving through people were not as interesting for me. Naturally I want inspiration to write as much as the next person, but I’m not so much into expecting it to have a mind of its own. Gilbert describes it as some kind of spirit that flows through each of us, and you have to catch a story before it decides you aren’t the one writer for it. It’s a romantic idea, I admit. I just can’t bring myself to expect all of the famous writers to have achieved their success through inspiration “choosing” them.
Back to the actual book. Gilbert writes with a personal tone, and listening to her read the novel, I felt like I was listening to a friend talk. There was no uppity “I’m a real author” style that can sometimes come out in self-help books written by the stars. Gilbert just acts like one of us. She had written books before Eat Pray Love, and suddenly – it was that book, which made her famous. Unexpected, but of course – welcome. She’s a pleasure to listen to and I highly recommend the book on audio especially! If you’re going to go out of your own comfort zone and read a book that isn’t necessarily in your genre, make it this one.
Rating: 5/5 Stars