In the last year I read BIG MAGIC: creative living beyond fear by Elizabeth Gilbert at least a handful of times. I’ve been embracing this book, facing my fears and the little bits of wonder that this world has to offer, ever since it was gifted to me in the spring of 2018.
BIG MAGIC is magical.
This book reinforced a lot of the things that I already thought about life —which was particularly refreshing because not a lot of people talk about the intangible magical aspects that are ever-so evident, every-day, in our world. For example, even our mere existence is magical, like what are the chances that we even exist? It’s a vast universe, yet here we are. We can think, we can dream, we can create —isn’t all just magical? But this book isn’t about why we exist, it’s about how and why we create.
Creating is magic.
I hope more people read BIG MAGIC, I hope more people realize that they have BIG MAGIC within them; perhaps they’ll even get their own copy —online or at a brick and mortar— and contribute to Elizabeth so that she can make more brilliant books for us to read (no pressure). My main aim is to categorize this wealth of knowledge and to celebrate Mrs. Gilbert for the courage that it took to bring this out of her head/heart and into the world, thank you Elizabeth Gilbert* you’ve made a tremendous impact in my life.
Favorite snippets from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, PART I (1-13)
courage & enchantment:
- “Look, I don’t know what’s hidden within you. I have no way of knowing such a thing. You yourself may barely know, although I suspect you’ve caught glimpses. I don’t know your capacities, your aspiration, your longing, you secret talents. But surely something wonderful is sheltered inside of you. I say this with all confidence, because I happen to believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure. I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
- “She asked herself when was the last time she’d felt truly light, joyous, and—yes—creative in her own skin.”
- “—is still figure skating several mornings a week simply because skating is still the best way for her to unfold a certain beauty and transcendence within her life that she cannot seem to access in any other manner.”
- “as the saying goes, argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.“
- “I had creativity within me that was original; I had a personality within me that was original: I had dreams and perspectives and aspirations within me that were original. But my fear was not original in the least. My fear wasn’t some kind of rare artisanal object; it was just a mass-produced item, available on the shelves of any generic box store.”
- “So I don’t try to kill off fear. I don’t go to war against it. Instead, I make all that space for it. Heaps of space. Every single day. I’m making space for fear right this moment. I allow my fear to live and breathe and stretch out its legs, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too. In fact, I cordially invite dear to come along with me everywhere I go. I even have a welcoming speech for fear, which I deliver right before embarking upon any new project or big adventure.“
- “You will start noticing all sort of signs pointing you towards the idea. Everything you see and touch and do will remind you of the idea. The idea will wake you up in the middle of the night and distract you from your everyday routine. The idea will not leave you alone until it has your fullest attention.“
- “I’ve always had the sense that the muse of a tormented artist—while the artist himself is throwing temper tantrums—is sitting quietly in corner of the studio, buffing its fingernails, patiently waiting for the [artist] to calm down and sober up so everyone can get back to work. Because in the end, it’s al about the work, isn’t it?…And maybe there’s a different way to approach it?“
- “I did then what you do when you get serious about a project or a pursuit: I cleared space for it. I cleaned off my desk, literally and figuratively. I committed myself to several hours of research every morning. I made myself go to bed early so I could get up at dawn and be ready for work. I said no to alluring distractions and social invitations so I could focus on my job. I ordered books about Brazil and I placed calls to experts. I started studying Portuguese. I bought index cards—my preferred method of keeping notes—and I allowed myself to begin dreaming of this new world.”
- “…I want to pause for a moment and ask you to consider all the negative conclusions that I could have drawn about this incident, had I been int eh mood to ruin my life.“
- “I think society did a great disservice to artist when we started saying that certain people were geniuses, instead of saying they had geniuses. That happened around the Renaissance, with the rise of a more rational and human centered view of life. The gods and mysteries fell away, and suddenly we put all the credit and blame for creativity on the artists themselves—making the all-too-fragile humans completely responsible for the vagaries of inspiration.”
- “I wish somebody had told them all to of fill up a bunch of pages with blah-blah-blah and just publish it, for heaven’s sake, and ignore the outcome.“
- “I work either way, you see—assisted or unassisted—because that is what you must do in order to live a fully creative life. I work steadily, and I always thank the process. Whether I am touched by creativity or not, I thank creativity for allowing me to engage with it at all. Because either way, it’s all kind of amazing—what we get to do, what we get to attempt, what we sometimes get to commune with. Gratitude, always. Always, gratitude.”
*clicking on “thank you Elizabeth Gilbert” will redirect you out of this website and into Elizabeth Gilbert’s website—it’s good practice to always check the validity of the sites you visit, and to learn about who makes the things that you consume.