Big Magic is one of those books that sneaks up on you. Maybe, like me, you keep spying it out of the corner of your eye on Instagram, blogs, or reading lists. It makes its way on to your To Read list, but you don’t buy it right away. But the sheer volume of positive reviews escalate it from To Read to To Read Right Now. And then you are so glad that you did.
The full title of the book is Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, and it is written by Elizabeth Gilbert. The very same Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat, Pray Love, although this book is a different animal. I have to say, I never thought I would want to read a feel-good narrative romance like Eat, Pray, Love, but the quality of writing in Big Magic has piqued my curiosity and now I’m going to have to read it.
Big Magic is a guideline for living with your creativity in a fulfilling way. Rather than relying on a fictional narrative thread, the book carries you and your creativity through the themes of Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity in creative expression, interwoven with the author’s experience and references to other inspiring and talented writers. Although I’d encourage reading the book through from front to back, you can pick this one up at any time and flip to a section that you think would serve you best in your creativity in the moment.
An idea from the book that sticks with me the strongest right now is that the author didn’t quit her day job for a long time after she was established as a successful writer. She didn’t want to burden her creativity with needing to provide her with the means to live. Creativity needs room to breathe and be expressive, and works on its own timeline. Instead of smothering it with responsibility, she gave it space to grow and diligently pursued her craft.
One of the things that interests me about Big Magic is the sheer variety of friends that I’ve had recommend the book. They range from yoga teachers to writers to designers. I tend to think about my creativity in the context of Art. I studied art in school, made it for many years, and often overlook other forms of creative expression in myself because they don’t fall under a more traditional cultural idea of Art (whatever that is, really). Sometimes my conservative thinking patterns sneak up on me like this. Right off the bat, I don’t think of yoga sequences, writing, or crafting as being an expression of my creativity. But really, it is. At first glance it’s so much easier for me to recognize that kind of creativity in other people rather than in myself.
Beyond the dotted i’s and crossed t’s, my reaction to Big Magic can be summed up as such: READ IT. JUST DO IT. THIS BOOK WILL STEEP YOUR SOUL IN WITTY OPTIMISM. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Don’t you want to feel happy and fulfilled? I’m not saying this book will give you these things, but it will help you find the wisdom to remember what you really want from life (or hopefully help you find it), and lift you up to find the courage to step into that.