In honor of World Book Day #lovetoread and my passion for reading, I have started a book review segment that will be added to this blog more regularly. Please enjoy my first review of an inspirational non-fiction book:
In this book, Elizabeth Gilbert paints a vivid picture of the beauty and fulfillment that art and especially living a creative life can cultivate. She encourages readers not to worry too much about obtaining higher education when it comes to artistic living (not too sure that I agree with her). This book delves into the possibilities that await you when you decide to say “yes” to any idea that chooses you (she views ideas as living entities). She makes it seem delightfully simple to lead a life full of light and wonder to feed your soul. The title is quite appropriate as she guides you towards seeing your value and pushes you to find your place in this magically creative world of ours. She wants all people to celebrate their curiosity, interests and perhaps latent or deeply buried sense of creativity. According to her, we are all creative and it very likely only our fear that holds us back from living freely as we should.
Big magic is written as a template and provides valuable lessons for unleashing your creativity. It attempts to get people back in touch with their authentic creative urges while living in a world that generally grinds away at our time and freedom. This book is aimed mostly at writers and artists but also anyone who would like to inject a little bit of magic into their lives. Her approach to creativity comes across as quite mystical, but with some rational and logical points. She encourages people to live more deeply rather than strive for meaningless titles and in the process, rejects many artistic clichés (for example, the problematic and suffering artists). It is a book focused on the possibility of self-actualization and about reaching your true potential.
This book lends belief to the fact that anything is creative, as long as it makes you value your own joy. She states that creativity relies on making choices that make you happy and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. This book should make you stop coming up with excuses for not at least trying to fulfill your creative dreams. There is nothing exclusive about her definition of self-expression and she enthralls you with tales about where your imagination can lead you. In this book, she makes it her personal mission to guide you away from fear, negativity and all forms of procrastination. You can view this book as more of a pep talk than an actual self-help book because as she explains the creative process should not be for others, but for yourself. If it does help some others along the way, then that’s just an added bonus.
I learned a lot from reading this book, especially when it comes to following my instincts, and I have actually figured out how to pick up on that intense emotional and physiological feeling of inspiration. What I liked the most about this book was that creativity does not have to be some never thought of or a completely original idea, but you can take something that has been done and make it your own through passion and effort.
I gleaned that even when you feel like you don’t have inspiration, you should just follow your curiosity and what interests you, and it will lead you to inspiration and passion. I followed her instructions and was pleasantly surprised at the idea that came to mind for my next creative endeavor, thank you, Miss Gilbert!
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On the other hand, the book does have an air of vagueness and generalization that makes it difficult to take all the advice seriously. It’s as if she is trying too hard to sound sincere and knowledgeable, that you sometimes doubt her wisdom and credibility. She also has a tendency to contradict her statements and will proclaim one fact in a chapter and then completely discredit it in the next.
Other than those issues, her love of creativity and the magic we call art is utterly infectious and definitely inspired me to live a more meaningful and creative life. I do recommend reading Big Magic, it would benefit anyone whether you believe you are creative or not… Go ahead, let go of your fear, free your inner creativity and allow the Big Magic of inspiration to influence your life in remarkable ways…