Book Review: Big Magic
Creative Living Beyond Fear
By Elizabeth Gilbert
With some books, you keep coming across little quotes that you want to share with others, or post on your bathroom mirror. Then there’s Elizabeth Gilbert’s exhilarating new work, Big Magic, which has quotes you want to tattoo across your ribs. “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels—that’s creative living.”
Gilbert’s book is a soaring ode to the creative process, covering both how it unfolds for her and how terribly frightening it can be to embrace. She writes of courage, and enchantment, and the arrival of ideas like glossy ravens. Every page seems to pulse with urgency and beauty, calling for you to start that novel, pick up that paintbrush, or dance the fandango—right now.
You’ve probably read Gilbert’s previous books, which include the memoir Eat Pray Love, and the novel The Signature of All Things. It’s thrilling, as a reader, to be put in a position where she’s rooting for you. Because she not only believes in the value of creativity, she believes that you, too, are worthy of exploring and birthing your own joyful form of expression. “The work wants to be made,” she urges, “and it wants to be made through you.” But she warns of ignoring our ideas too long, for they may go off and roost with someone else. If you want to trust, if you want to become that thing you dare not believe you can be, read this book.