Big Magic: A Book Recommendation for the Creative

I’m currently sat on the grounds of the beautiful Finca Bebedero in North Tenerife, taking a break from one of the many adventures Jonny and I have been pursuing while we’ve been on this island. More to come on those very soon. Today I wanted to give mention to my reading choice for this trip.

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Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (known for the world-famous Eat, Pray, Love) has captured so much of my appreciation. This book discusses the life of the creative. It captures perfectly the torment and the turbulence and the terror or dedicating yourself to a life of making things. Whether you’re a writer or a painter or like knitting, Gilbert challenges the inner turmoil of artists that we’ve grown to revere.

There is this well known idealogy that one must know suffering in order to produce authentic, raw and well, good, material. But where has this thinking come from? I questioned my own approach and I too have this idea that I do my best writing when I’m either heart-broken or depressed or anxious or disappointed. Why do we maintain that we can’t be feeling the love and the joy to create our best?

I thoroughly enjoyed the read and cannot recommend it enough. Gilbert presents the idea that creative inspiration floats around waiting for the person with the right mind in the right place and time to bring the idea to life. I like that. I like that all we have to do is be ready for it. That, and follow our curiosities.

As I’ve wandered around this island, discovering numerous microclimates, pockets of culture, and tradition, I’ve felt alive for one, but also exceptionally happy. It hasnt been a struggle, I haven’t faced any drama and I certainly haven’t been suffering. Yet, I’ve captured some of my best photos ever. I’ve had ideas for pieces that I had never dreamed would come to me before.

When we’re open to lightness and love, marvellous things can happen. We can be creative and not need to hold on to our suffering. We need not attach such seriousness to our work.

Unlike a medical professional or a plumber or a roofer, the beauty of the creative life is that one can make or do or capture whatever they feel like. There is no set standard for what must be achieved. There is no direction which must be followed. You must simply give the mind something to occupy it so that it does not pursue something you may not want it to. I say it all the time, but dog-chewing-on-furniture syndrome.

This trip and Big Magic have fitted together beautifully, hand in hand. I can bask in beauty and the good life and still create. If you are feeling frustrated with a creative pursuit, I recommend this read for a refreshing change in perspective.

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