Am I the only one who’s being stalked by books? In my case, they run away from the book shop with nothing but a price tag, they cross borders and pretend to be part of my Airbnb’s owner collection, they bribe Amazon to make them digital, then Google to act all subliminal on me, and if all this doesn’t work, they quote themselves in cool people’s posts. This is what happened with Big Magic: creative living beyond fear. It followed me from Sweden, on TED Talks, to the UK, until it literally threw itself at me, with its best quote on Medium. It finally found me in Lithuania, tormented by Eastern European literature. Easy catch.
Truth be told, I’ve loved miss Gilbert since before she became famous. I bought Eat Pray Love from a library in Porto Venere, many years ago, prior to the movie and media attention. I loved the book and naturally felt pissy about the movie and the whole desperate housewives’ movement. My sister in law read The Signature Of All Things before me and it was one of the best book recommendations I’ve ever received. Elizabeth Gilbert writes beautifully. From the heart – no fuss. She’s your best friend, the one you listen music with, over coffee and great conversations. She’s true quality time.
Big Magic is an interview with Creativity – where it comes from, how it works and what criteria it chooses in order to manifest itself. E. Gilbert believes that creativity is a common human trait, one that allows for the highest personal reward to occur. If people are magical, it’s because of this unique quality. We’re all creative up to a certain level and I think that art (in any form) is what gives meaning to the human condition. It’s what keeps us sane and united. If one needs a purpose in life, then creating fills this role, wonderfully. In my opinion, creativity is spirituality. It’s how we communicate truthfully with the others.
“Possessing a creative mind, after all, is something like having a border collie for a pet. It needs to work, or else it will cause you an outrageous amount of trouble. Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents (eating the couch, digging a hole through the living room floor, biting the mailman, etc.). It has taken me years to learn this, but it does seem to be the case that if I am not actively creating something, then I am probably actively destroying something (myself, a relationship, or my own peace of mind).”
Turns out this book was chasing me for a smile, a ruffle of my curls and a ”Keep going!”. I spend hours on end, hand in hand with my thoughts, trying to understand where they come from, what they need from me, what I need from them, how important it is to share them and how much space I should give to the truly silly ones. My thoughts are like kids high on candy or to quote, “border collies”, so it’s usually a messy business, but as soon as I put everything into writing, peace shows up. In comes chaos, out comes freedom. It’s like releasing a bird from its cage. There’s a lot of love involved in this process.
I believe it’s our duty to encourage creativity, whether there’s a genius behind it, a kid writing to Santa, or anyone in between, including yourself. Creativity is the expression of an open heart. If reading, admiring a photo or listening to a song, brings you the smallest amount of well-being or helps you to re-establish a connection with the world, express your appreciation. Be grateful for being able to feel gratitude. It doesn’t have to be a like on social media or a 10000 words letter, but it has to be tangible.
Consider it like this: if someone puts their heart in their baby or monster creation, and you felt it, then the least you can do is show your support. The way you feel most accurate and when you feel it’s right, but do it, because I wouldn’t want to live in a world without craft. I doubt that you do.
Last but not least, explore your own creative nature. If there’s something divine, something that goes beyond your survival instincts and material needs, then that would be your ability to create something beautiful. Don’t be afraid to explore your own magic, no matter the result. It is enough if one heart benefits from it.
I’ll leave you on the lookout for a cheeky book searching for a new reader and 3 quotes: one from a genius, one from a kid and another one from someone in between. You decide which is which ;).
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
“You can make a wish, but it’s not magic. People have to make it happen.”
“Art teaches nothing except the significance of life.”