Monday, January 4, 2016

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert #review

Title: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Publisher: Riverhead Books, 2015

Anyone who knows me, will have a good idea of how I give books that have at some point or another been excessively popular with book clubs the side eye. For that very reason, I was mostly inclined to give anything by Elizabeth Gilbert a wide berth. I mean, if my mother had heard about Eat, Pray, Love all the way out in Swellendam then it was probably not a book I’d like to read (says she who makes a habit of often reading obscure fiction).

That being said, when a close friend whose opinion I value placed her copy of Big Magic in my hand and told me in no uncertain terms that I must read this book, that I *needed* to read this book, I paid attention. As it turned out, she was oh, so right. (She usually is, bless her little cotton socks.)

Though Big Magic is clearly aimed at writers, the advice that Gilbert offers from her own experiences in life and the publishing industry, can be applied to other forms of creativity. Essentially, and to sum up from what Gilbert has written, Big Magic is all about letting go of your fear to create and to understand why you create, and also gain an appreciation of how creativity functions. To paraphrase very loosely, Big Magic is your permission slip to go on and write those stories you’ve always wanted to, and to hell with whatever else anyone says or thinks.

What makes this book especially lovely is that it consists of short chapters, summing up base ideas almost as little lessons, which you can treat as such; really, this is the sort of book that you can keep a hard copy on your desk so that every time you feel down, or that you and your writing are worthless, you can pick the book up, open it any page, and find a little bit of inspiration.

It can be argued that much of what Gilbert writes is common sense, but sometimes it really, really helps to hear it from someone else.

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