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Good Read: BIG MAGIC!

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I recently finished reading, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert!  It is a fantastic read for everyone, as everyone is humans and inherently creative.  As you can see from the image above, I have earmarked the entire book!  Big Magic at its core is a celebration of a creative life.  Big Magic is broken into six sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity.  This is one of those books that I have on my desk, that I know I will go back and reference time and time again.  I am truly inspired after reading Big Magic.

The question: “Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

Some of my favorite quotes from Big Magic appear below.

“And while the paths and outcomes of creative living will vary widely from person to person, I can guarantee you this: A creative life is an amplified life.  It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.  Living in this manner — continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you — is a fine art, in and of itself.”

“Because creative living is a path for the brave.  We all know this.  And we all know that when courage dies, creativity dies with it.  We all know that fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun.  This is common knowledge; sometimes we just don’t know what to do about it.”

“Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates an uncertain outcome.”

“It seems to me that my fear and my creativity are basically conjoined twins — as evidenced by the fact that creativity cannot take a single step forward without fear marching right alongside of it.”

“And you have treasures hidden within you — extraordinary treasures — and so do I, and so does everyone around us.  And bringing those treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time anymore to think so small.”

“You can believe that you are neither a slave to inspiration nor its master, but something far more interesting — its partner — and that the two of you are working together toward something intriguing and worthwhile.  You can live a long life, making and doing really cool things the entire time.  You might earn a living with your pursuits or you might not, but you can recognize that this is not really the point.  And at the end of your days, you can thank creativity for having blessed you with a charmed, interesting, passionate existence.”

“Most of all, be ready.  Keep your eyes open.  Listen.  Follow your curiosity.  Ask questions.  Sniff around.  Remain open.  Trust in the miraculous truth that new and marvelous ideas are looking for human collaborators every single day.  Ideas of every kind are constantly galloping towards us, constantly passing through us, constantly trying to get our attention.  Let them know you’re available.  And for heaven’s sake, try not to miss the next one.”

“I saw this incident as a rare and glittering piece of evidence that all my most outlandish beliefs about creativity might actually be true — that ideas are alive, that ideas do seek the most available human collaborator, that ideas do gave a conscious will, that ideas do move from soul to soul, that ideas will always try to seek the swiftest and most efficient conduit to the earth (just as lightning does).”

“There is no time or space where inspiration comes from — and also no competition, no ego, no limitations.  There is only the stubbornness of the idea itself, refusing to stop searching until it has found an equally stubborn collaborator. (Or multiple collaborators, as the case may be).”

“Work with all your heart, because — I promise — if you show up for your work day after day after day after day, you might just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom.”

“But sometimes it is fairy dust.  Sometimes, when I’m in the midst of writing, I feel like I am suddenly walking on one of those moving sidewalks that you find in a big airport terminal; I still have a long slog to my gate, and my baggage is still heavy, but I can feel myself being gently propelled by some exterior force.  Something is carrying me along — something powerful and generous — and that something is decidedly not me.”

“[B]ecause in the end, creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience.”

“And then suddenly — woosh! — inspiration arrives, out of the clear blue sky.  And then — woosh — it is gone again.”

“When that assistance does arrive — that sense of the moving sidewalk beneath my feet, the moving sidewalk beneath my words — I am delighted, and I go along for the ride.  In such instances, I write like I am not quite myself.  I lose track of time and space and self.  While it’s happening, I thank the mystery for its help.  And when it departs, I let the mystery go, and I keep on working diligently anyhow, hoping that someday my genius will reappear.”

“All I know for certain is that this is how I want to spend my life — collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor command, nor understand.”

“Are you considering becoming a creative person?  Too late, you already are one.  To even call somebody ‘a creative person’ is almost laughably redundant; creativity is the hallmark of our species.  We have the senses for it; we have the curiosity for it; we have the opposable thumbs for it; we have the rhythm for it; we have the language for it.”

“Your own reasons to create are reason enough.  Merely by pursuing what you love, you may inadvertently end up helping us plenty . . . Do whatever brings you to life, then.  Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions.  Trust them.  Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.  The rest of it will take care of itself.”

“One of the best painters I know is a teacher at one of the world’s most esteemed art schools — but my friend himself does not have an advanced degree.  He is a master, yes, but he learned his mastery on his own.  He became a great painter because he worked devilishly hard for years to become a great painter.  Now he teaches others, at a level that he himself was never taught.”

“I decided to play the game of rejection letters as if it were a great cosmic tennis match: Somebody would send me a rejection, and I would knock it right back over the net, sending out another query that same afternoon.”

“Every time you express a complaint about how difficult and tiresome it is to be creative, inspiration takes another step away from you, offended.”

“I told the universe (and anyone who would listen) that I was committed to living a creative life not in order to save the world, not as an act of protest, not to become famous, not to gain entrance to the canon, not to challenge the system, not to show the bastards, not to prove to my family that I was worthy, not as a form of deep therapeutic emotional catharsis . . . but simply because I liked it.”

“Never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your own creative work.  And always remember that people’s judgments about you are none of your business.”

“Instead, I simply vowed to the universe that I would write forever, regardless of the result.  I promised that I would try to be brave about it, and grateful, and as uncomplaining as I could possibly be.   I also promised that I would never ask writing to take care of me financially, but that I would always take care of it — meaning that I would always support us both, by any means necessary.  I did not ask for any external rewards for my devotion; I just wanted to spend my life as near to writing as possible — forever close to that source of all my curiosity and contentment — and so I was willing to make whatever arrangements needed to be made in order to get by.”

“Over the years of devotional work, though, I found that if I just stayed with the process and didn’t panic, I could pass safely though each stage of anxiety and on to the next level.  I heartened myself with reminders that these fears were completely natural human reactions to interactions with the unknown.”

“If you want to be an artist of any sort, it seemed to me, then handling your frustration is a fundamental aspect of the work — perhaps the single most fundamental aspect of the work.  Frustration is not an interruption of your process; frustration is the process.”

“Holding yourself together through all the phases of creation is where the real work lies.”

“People don’t do this kind of thing because they have all kinds of extra time and energy for it; they do this kind of thing because their creativity matter to them enough that they are willing to make all kinds of extra sacrifices for it.  Unless you come from the land of gentry, that’s what everyone does.”

“Why do people persist in creating, even when it’s difficult and inconvenient and often financially unrewarding?  They persist because they are in love.  They persist because they are hot for their vocation.”

“But I see it differently.  I think perfectionism is just a high-end, haute couture version of fear.  I think perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it’s just terrified.”

“At some point, you really just have to finish your work and release it as it — if only so that you can go on to make other things with a glad and determined heart.”

“It’s all just an instinct and an experiment and a mystery, so begin.  Begin anywhere.  Preferably right now.”

“For my own part, I decided early on to focus on my devotion to the work above all.  That would be how I measured my worth.  I knew that conventional success would depend upon three factors — talent, luck, and discipline — and I knew that two of those three things would never be under my control…The only piece I had any control over was my discipline.”

“Do what you love to do, and do it with both seriousness and lightness.  At least then you will know that you have tried and that — whatever the outcome — you traveled a notable path.”

“You try and try and try, and nothing works.  But you keep trying, and you keep seeking, and then sometimes, in the least expected place and time, it finally happens.  You make the connection.  Out of nowhere, it all comes together.”

“Because when it all comes together, it’s amazing.  When it all comes together, the only thing you can do is bow down in gratitude, as if you have been granted an audience with the divine.  Because you have.”

“Why would your creativity not love you?  It came to you, didn’t it?  It drew itself near.  It worked itself into you, asking for your attention and devotion.  It filled you with the desire to make and do interesting things.  Creativity wanted a relationship with you.  That must be for a reason, right?  Do you honestly believe that creativity went through all the trouble of breaking into your consciousness only because it wanted to kill you?”

“Because think about it: If the only thing an idea wants is to be made manifest, then why would that idea deliberately harm you, when you are the one who might be able to bring it forth?  (Nature provides the seed; man provides the garden; each is grateful for the other’s help).”

“I’ve held my stubborn gladness when my work is going badly, and also when it’s going well.”

“I choose to trust that inspiration is always nearby, the whole time I’m working, trying its damnedest to impart assistance.”

“Inspiration is always trying to work with me.  So I sit there and I work, too.  That’s the deal.  I trust it; it trusts me.”

“What you produce is not always sacred, I realized, just because you think it’s sacred.  What is sacred is the time that you spend working on the project, and what that time does to expand your imagination, and what that expanded imagination does to transform your life.”

“Your creative work is not your baby; if anything, you are its baby.”

“I believe that curiosity is the secret.  Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living.  Curiosity is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.”

“It’s a clue.  It might seem like nothing, but its a clue.  Follow that clue.  Trust it.  See where curiosity will lead you next.  Then follow the next clue, and the next, and the next. . .Following that scavenger hunt of curiosity can lead you to amazing, unexpected places.”

“Fierce trust demands that you put forth the work anyhow, because fierce trust knows that the outcome does not matter.”

“What would you do even if you knew that you might very well fail?”

“Anyhow, what else are you going to do with your time here on earth — not make things?  Not do interesting stuff?  Not follow your love and curiosity?”

One Comment Post a comment
  1. beingmepresently #

    I’m going to have to read this. I have seen so many great recommendations. X

    November 18, 2015

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