A whole month since Christmas today. ‘It’s as far away as ever.’ as the Derry saying goes. I have just finished reading my second book of the year. I was totally blown away and I wanted to share it.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love) has created a wonder in ‘Big Magic.’ To
be honest, we have it in work and I picked it up a few times but I don’t think I would have chosen it myself. So I would like to thank SongBirdSignBird for the wonderful Christmas present. She wrote inside (my favourite, book inscriptions) that it helped her, and a little birdy (pardon the pun) told me she’s been writing nearly every day since reading it in November. I’m hoping it has that effect on me! I feel like it does.
I’m in an emotional place at the moment, the book made me cry three times when I’m not sure it would have that effect on anyone. But my overwhelming feeling is of RELIEF. No it’s not too late to get back to writing (if I ever started), it’s allowed to be fun, who cares if you’re not successful, do this for you. I can’t even tell you. Self-help books I avoid partly because ironically they are usually full of pressure. You must do this, you must spend this long exercising, how are you going to write if you don’t put in this effort. Big Magic is the opposite of pressure. There’s bits about fear and how that stops people. There’s a permission slip of you’re waiting for one.
Anyway, I think I will give you a few examples. If you ever wanted to write, make art, create anything (which, Gilbert points out, is all of us) I urge you to read this book.
The first part of the book is Courage. We hear of the legacy of a poet named Jack Gilbert (no relation) who once said to a young poet in his class after hearing she wanted to become a writer, ‘Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping that you will say yes.”
She writes of the burden of genius and the obsession of getting and staying at ‘the top’. Harper Lee, Gilbert wishes, that right after To Kill a Mockingbird and her Pulitzer, she had ‘churned out five cheap and easy books in a row.’ She could have tricked us all into forgetting, herself into forgetting she was Harper Lee. ‘It would have been a gift to the world. And it would have been a gift to her, as well- to have been able to remain a writer, and to have enjoyed the pleasures and satisfactions of that work for herself. (because in the end, creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience.)
I’m afraid to give too many secrets away so I think you should read it! Yes, some of her ideas about Inspiration and an idea ‘moving on’ to someone else and even the Trickster thing kind of weirded me out but over all the book is a little miracle.
Highlights for me, which I have diligently post-it noted for this occasion are:
Here’s a trick, stop complaining
Day job- there’s no dishonour in having a job. What is dishonourable is scaring away your creativity by demanding that it pay for your entire existence.
Done is better than good.
Nobody’s thinking about you.
A beautiful story about perseverance. That made me cry.
An exquisite tale of painting stars on children’s bicycles that had me cry just now like a crazy person while reading aloud to my Mum.
I’m forever changed by this book. I feel the permission, the freedom, the lightness and pressure free chance to write. To make art. Creative Living Beyond Fear as the lovely book boasts.
P.S Thank you so much to Laura and Eoin if you’re reading for really cheering me up on Friday. You’s made my night! Thank you for the blog support 🙂 Means a lot.