Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear is a 270-page permission slip from Elizabeth Gilbert to her readers, allowing all of us to be free in our creative explorations. Though Gilbert (who I’d rather refer to as Liz from this point forward, are we all ok with a that?) makes it clear that she wrote a self-help book simply because she enjoys writing about creativity and her intent was not to actually help anyone, her book certainly helped me. I didn’t know how much I needed her permission slip until she gave it to me with Big Magic.
Reading Big Magic felt a bit like Liz had taken up residence inside my head and made a list of all the things I needed to hear to summon up the courage to pursue a creative life. Her driving point is that we must dedicate ourselves to our creativity not for success or fame, but for the pure joy of engaging with creativity. When we let go of external pursuits and all the fears of not being good enough that go along with them, we open ourselves to saying yes to inspiration when it floats into our universe. And if we’re in the most divine and magical of circumstances, genius may pop-in and guide us to the finish line.
Liz has no tolerance for the tortured (and oftentimes starving) artist. To her, creative pursuits are what give us joy and pleasure. One of my favorite sections of the book is where she describes her own relationship with creativity as if it is her lover. As a lover, she seduces creativity by dressing up, throwing on a little makeup, and dabbing perfume on her wrists. She squirrels away time just to be with it and she is invigorated by the time they spend together, always craving more.
There were so many powerful quotes that I’m taking away from this book. The two that stick with me most are “I enjoy my creativity” And “Love over suffering, always.” Because when you break it down, choosing to pursue your creativity is that simple.
This is a happy book. It’s a warm book. Reading it feels a bit like getting a big hug from someone you love. And it isn’t a permission slip solely for artists, musicians, and writers. Creativity lives in all of us. We all possess the potential to decorate the world in our own unique way.