I am visiting family and friends back East, and have a few days in between places. I noticed Elizabeth Gilbert's podcast http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/magic-lessons/ and started listening last night. She sought out people who were creatively blocked, called and chatted about their issues, then helped them as well as sharing their story with one of her creative friends for ideas. I ended up binge listening into the night, then raced out this morning as soon as the bookstore opened to get the companion book, "Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear."
Companion book isn't really the right label, try CREATIVE BIBLE!
I want to write Ms. Gilbert a letter telling her this will be the most meaningful book in my life, that I will keep it right next to my paints and pens and journals, and it will end up paint splattered, dog-eared, underlined and quoted.
I actually believe this book will advance humanity in our quest to be creative people, because she gives permission.
She gives permission to follow your creative expression simply because that's what humans do. The sad truth is that the world tells us we are simply to lay bricks. NO, we are to create new ways of buildling.
One of the very many revelatory parts of this book is the explaination that we are to be lovers with our inspiration, we are to court it and seduce it and make it our priority. You know how you always make time for that special fling -- even just 15 minutes of stolen connection? We need to be that in love with inspiration, that connected to the whispering voice of creativity that can be so very allusive. Creative ideas are floating around out there, and they will settle upon the one who is ready and listening, the one that entices the muse into being by being available and ready to listen.
I actually have been feeling very guilty about making my art, who am I to do this indulgent thing, my fears say to me. You aren't making money, you aren't being noticed, you aren't getting comments or praise or acclaim or certainly not paychecks. But in this beautiful book, Liz explains that if we are doing work for anyone other than ourselves, we may as well pack it up. Success, if defined by money, will sabatoge us faster than we can cash the checks. Also, that the creative urge is our right, our instinct, our connection to what makes us alive. How can we shut that off?
Fear tells us we are not enough, that trying this crazy thing will result in horrible failure. Her answer? Accept fear's worry for our safety, and say no thanks, I will be okay, I will embrace inspiration and creativity and my own best authentic self and spend my life force there, thank you very much.
I have had a love affair with creativity for a long time, and this book made me realize I actually have felt guilty about it! I felt I was supposed to be monetizing my work, getting acclaim or praise or attention or at least some cash, or it all meant nothing.
Silly, silly me.
I didn't realize how deeply that incorrect message was imbued in my self worth.
(and she also points out that every single cultural message to women is that we are not, and never will be enough. Unless maybe we buy this product.)
Run, do not walk to the nearest bookstore, and get this book.
or download it from Amazon and read it now.
Listen to her podcast (linked above) and hear the creative coaching and tender compassion she sends out to the struggling writers, artist, photographer and song writer she has chosen to share. Their stories and her response (and the response of her awesome, talented friends) will move you.
They will move you back to your eisel, your note pad, your guitar, your camera, your garden.
We deserve to, yes, we must, inhabit our creative selves, or this energy festers and, as very much experienced by me, turns into depression.
I had a bunch of cute journal illustrations for this entry, but my ipad doesn't want to share them, so, in the spirit of better done than perfect, (which she talks about in the book) I will hit publish.