To say that I was impressed with “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert would be a bit of an understatement. I began reading this book with high expectations because of how hard I fell in love with City of Girls and as expected, this book absolutely did not disappoint.
Elizabeth Gilbert enchants the reader with her unique perspective about creativity and what it means to live a creative life. From the beginning, Gilbert explains that living a creative life is not necessarily pursuing things within the arts, but rather simply having the creativity and courage to unearth the hidden jewels within us that reveal our true capacities, secret talents, and aspirations.
Gilbert’s insight about creativity, inspiration and fear is very practical, and a refreshing change from the usual societal bullshit that tends to be forced down our throats that are blocking us from our creativity. For example, this book discusses the simple notion that we can live a fulfilled, creative life without worrying that our creativity is all for not if it won’t evolve in to something that will financially support us in a way that allows us to “quit our day job.” Another example is how society also fools us into thinking that we are not qualified in pursuing our creative outlets if we don’t have the college education to prove it when this is also not always the case. Throughout the book, Gilbert paints a colorful picture of the attitudes and habits that we must develop in order to live our creative lives, address the fearful thoughts that hold us back, and take on the things that we love most.
I found myself mesmerized by Gilbert’s theory of ideas because it was not something that I had ever considered before and it resonated with me. In her book, she describes her belief of how creativity functions as this:
“I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and planets and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us — albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual.”– Elizabeth Gilbert, “Big Magic”
Gilbert further explains that when these ideas find us, they will latch on to us and try to get our attention. When we don’t notice them, or give them the attention they deserve, they leave us and seek out the next person that they can partner with to bring their purpose to fruition. The personal experience she shares that supports this theory is startling in the most exquisite way, and is one of my personal favorite stories from the book.
Overall, “Big Magic” feels like a wonderful conversation with a good friend and mentor. You will obtain a lot of valuable insight to help guide you out of whatever rut you’re in, push through the fears that block out your creativity, and inspire you to be serious about having fun when pursuing your passions.
BEER RECOMMENDATION: “Big Magic” is best paired with Crimson Ridge Vat No. 1 by Bold Rock Cider. This highly enjoyable champagne-like cider has a well-balanced profile of sweetness from the crisp Virginia apples and a slightly dry finish 🍻