Is Creativity (with a capital “C”) an innate trait for a select few of us, or can it be welcomed and nourished as an almost living entity by anyone open to receiving it? This is one of the questions Elizabeth Gilbert asks and answers in her new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.
Gilbert mines her own experiences as she explores what she calls the Big Magic that happens when we open ourselves up to any and every form of creativity – from writing, dancing, and art to knitting, cooking, photography, inventing, and gardening – and embrace these efforts fully. “The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you” is a theme throughout the book. She looks in-depth at the areas of courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and divinity as key components of living the creative life we are meant to live. And she weaves it all together with examples from her own and others’ creative struggles to drive each point home.
Inspiring? Definitely. Of fear of failure, she says it’s just part of the creative life. “It isn’t always comfortable or easy – carrying your fear around with you on your great and ambitious road trip…but it’s always worth it, because if you can’t learn to travel comfortably alongside your fear, then you’ll never be able to…do anything interesting,” she states.
Encouraging? Absolutely. “You will fail. It sucks, and I hate to say it, but it’s true…I have come to understand what part of me is suffering when I fail: It’s just my ego…My saving grace is this, though: I know that I am not only an ego; I am also a soul…My soul desires only one thing: wonder. And since creativity is my most efficient pathway to wonder, I take refuge there, and it feeds my soul, and it quiets the hungry ghost…”
Motivating? Undeniably. Gilbert stresses that “you have treasures hidden within you…and bringing those treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time anymore to think so small.”
With Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Gilbert has given us a gift, one we can all use no matter our age, vocation, or passion. Big Magic can help anyone looking to welcome more Creativity into his or her life. And as Gilbert states: “It’s what we all want.”