Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
September 22, 2015
About Big Magic
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Gilbert offers 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. And 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.
I saw this book on a list of great nonfiction for women. Years ago, I read EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I love her TedTalk about creative genius, but this is the first book of hers that I’ve read since those things.
I feel like the best, shortest description of this book is that it’s basically her TedTalk on creative genius, but deeper, wider, and filled with even more wild and amazing stories. Every time I thought, well, “I can’t possibly love this book any more than I currently do,” she would open a new topic that resonated with me or begin talking about an author I deeply admire. (She talks about Harper Lee, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Brené Brown in the book, just to name a few.)
This is the kind of book that I need to read again and again and let its lessons kind of soak in my brain. I want to be able to highlight sections or use some of the quotes from the book as journal prompts.
The book explores a lot of the heartaches and roadblocks of pursuing a creative life. As a writer, a LOT of what she said resonated with me in terms of my own processes and experiences. I feel like there are some great tools here that can help me move forward with my writing with more confidence and purpose. I’m really excited about that.
BIG MAGIC is a great book for creative people of all types, not just writers and not just people who are trying to pay the bills with their art. Pretty much, my advice is watch the TedTalk. If it speaks to you, and you’re interested in going deeper about those topics and your creativity, definitely check out BIG MAGIC.
Brief mentions of suicide or alcoholism.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Elizabeth Gilbert is a white woman. She tells the stories of a lot of other writers and artists, but I’m not sure how diverse that crowd is. At least a few are BIPOC.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat infrequently.
References to moving overseas with her boyfriend.
So the basic premise is about approaching creativity or inspiration as if it arrives from an external source. Gilbert isn’t specific about what that source is, so readers have lots of room to fill in the blanks with their own spirituality. She talks about her beliefs about a soul versus her ego and how experiences affect each.
Gilbert mentions briefly that a number of artists have died by suicide or addiction to alcohol.
Mentions of alcoholism.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog.