Saturday 3 February 2018

Big Magic Book Review

This is a book that every writer needs to read. It is not only well-written and filled with inspiring stories, but it is positive and written to destroy most of the debilitating old chestnuts which crush creativity. In fact, the book is written for anyone pursuing creativity and I recommend everyone read it.

Author Elizabeth Gilbert is best known for her book Eat, Pray, Love, but what is remarkable is that she is still writing and enjoying writing after her major best-seller. If I still haven't convinced you to read Big Magic, check out her Ted Talk here:

Gilbert writes with humour and whimsy. She has the rare ability of making the reader feel they are not only reading a book, but making a friend. After 20 years of writing, I have come to many of the same conclusions she has. What I love is that she points out others I haven't yet learned. Here are some of my favourite inspirational passages:

"So take your insecurities and your fears and hold them upside down by their ankles and shake yourself free of all your cumbersome ideas about what you require (and how much you need to pay) in order to become creatively legitimate. Because I'm telling you that you are already creatively legitimate, by nature of your mere existence her among us." (p. 108)

"I firmly believe that we all need to find something to do in our lives that stops us from eating the couch. Whether we make a profession out of it or not, we all need an activity that is beyond the mundane and that takes us out of our established and limiting roles in society...Perhaps creativity's greatest mercy is this: By completely absorbing our attention for a short and magical spell, it can relieve us temporarily from the dreadful burden of being who we are." (p. 172)

"I believe that curiosity is the secret. Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living. . .Furthermore, curiosity is accessible to everyone. Passion can seem intimidatingly out of reach at times -- a distant tower of flame, accessible only to geniuses and to those who are especially touched by God. But curiosity is a milder, quieter, more welcoming, and more democratic entity. The stakes of curiosity are also far lower than the stakes of passion." (p. 237)

I so enjoyed this book and will add it to my collection of books on writing to read again, along with Stephen King's On Writing and Julia Cameron's The Right to Write. I'd love to see them get together and discuss writing. What a treat that would be!

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