Saturday, 16 December 2017

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, reviewed by Emma Perry

I have no shame in admitting that it was with reluctance that I initially picked up Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

I really wasn’t sure.

Nevertheless. Something pulled me to it, convinced me to open the cover, delve in – and I didn’t look back.

The overriding tone of Gilbert’s narrative is enthusiastic inspiration, as she delves into the creative process and how she believes it works. Reading Big Magic is like coming away from a REALLY inspirational workshop. You know the sort – the ones that leave you buzzing with ideas and energy. The sort that resets the creative batteries and reminds you exactly why you started writing in the first place – that intoxicating mix of energy and total absorption. There’s nothing quite like it, yet Gilbert manages to package it up into 273 pages.

What Big Magic does is open your mind, imagination and heart up to creative energies – everywhere. I hope this doesn’t sound too vague… but she opens up the pathways to allow your subconscious to be open to inspiration. As writers we do know it is all around us, but sometimes, often times – a little reminder, a nudge is really needed.

Mixing personal anecdotes with experience and knowledge, Gilbert's writing is both relatable and realistic as she acknowledges failure ('it sucks'), the need for courage, and the need for persistence no matter what form your creative journey takes. Big Magic isn't solely aimed at writers.

'never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else's blessing in order to make your own creative work.'

There’s something quite comforting about Gilbert’s voice, she manages that balance between conversational and intriguing, without falling into tedium.

If you're lacking enthusiasm, need a bit of a kick, or  an injection of inspiration then Big Magic might be just the ticket.
'Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.'

Emma Perry is a picture book writer represented by Bell Lomax Moreton. 
She is the founder of the childrens book review site MyBookCorner and organiser of International Book Giving Day. 
Twitter: @_EmmaPerry



Ann Turnbull said...

I'd never heard of this book, but I do like that quote "Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege."

Emma Perry said...

hehehe yes - I think she summed it up pretty well with that sentence!

Penny Dolan said...

Your "extreme reluctance" at first about the BIG MAGIC book does add an stronger point to your review, so thanks, Emma.

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