Book Review – Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Hi Friends,

It’s been quite some time since the last book review I did on the blog. Summer class and work have been keeping me occupied for some weeks now, but I managed to squeeze in time to write-up this post. Like I mentioned in my “what college taught me” blog, I’m still learning how to strike a work-life balance. Recently I underwent surgery too which was a big bump in the road. I haven’t regained my energy to a normal level and I get tired easily after walking or standing for moderate bouts of time. These past few weeks have really taught me to slow down; one because I had no choice and two because I want to heal and get back to doing the things I enjoy. But, nevertheless I’m working on making my passions and pursuits a priority no matter what the circumstances or the obstacles I face.

On a cheery note, I set aside an evening to reconnect with you all and share one of my favorite reads for the months of June & July. This book was an old purchase and a re-read. The first time I read this was last summer (2016) when I decided to perhaps dabble at writing book reviews. Clearly… that creative idea didn’t get kicked into gear till recently. I’m glad I chose to re-read it and boy was I grateful for the powerful realization that came with reading the book. This book was a staple in my travel backpack during my study abroad trip and family vacation. Using the long flights, layovers and airport waiting time to my literary advantage, I knocked this read out within no time.

This month’s book review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Creative Living Beyond Fear 

“Elizabeth Gilbert, isn’t she the gal from Eat Pray Love?” Ding! Ding! Ding! You are correct, and what a shame that I’m not Alex Trebek and this isn’t Jeopardy. Haha, still if you’ve read the New York Times Best Selling book or watched the film, you’ve probably heard of Elizabeth Gilbert.

Big Magic is a page-turning book adorned with empowering advice and an honest concern for the readers. Gilbert’s book makes you realize the artist that’s hiding within you, the creative intellectual that is itching to reveal itself under the cloak of reality and top-paying professions. Big Magic awakens the reader to a level where they are inspired to take action. As I turned the crisp ivory pages, I consistently felt like Gilbert was my personal mentor and her words pierced my mind like daggers leaving behind a profound effect. Reading this book made me come to the following conclusion:

“Everything we see experience and use in our daily lives was once a part of someone’s imagination. Creative seeds exist in our mind. It’s up to us to water those seeds, tend to them, grow them and bring them into the world.”

I see creativity and artistry as a gift we share with the world. Big Magic teaches you just how to do that. With 6 main parts [courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust and divinity] and mini excerpt length sections embedded within each part, the wisdom that Gilbert shares with her readers is digestible and impactful.

” Creative Living – a life that is driven strongly by curiosity than by fear”

Each main part taps into common topics and scenarios that a creative person encounters. Gilbert defines creative living and then elaborates on that in each subsequent chapter. I personally enjoyed her anecdotes in the ‘enchantment,’ section of how an idea to write a book came to her, but since she wasn’t ready for it the idea manifested itself with another author down the road. It’s a tricky concept, this thing we call ideas. As much as they are figments of our imagination, wildest dreams and deepest wishes, they are ruled by elements of nature. Ideas just want to manifest themselves, and if you’re not willing and ready to take on the task, they’ll find someone else to bring them to life.

That’s the beauty of this book. Not only does it teach you to look your fear straight in the eyes, it paints a realistic picture on how to share your authentic self with the world. The quote below was something I related to so deeply. Somehow society, our familial backgrounds, mass media and people in general have ingrained in us a fear that you cannot make a living off of your creativity. Quite frankly I ask them, why the hell not?! At the end of the day are you living your life to escape the criticism of others and get a validating stamp of approval… or in an authentic way that makes you want to jump out of bed every morning?

“I told the world (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.”

Since reading this book, I experienced a moment of ‘Big Magic’ in my life. One day at work during my lunch break my co-workers sitting next to me were pleasantly surprised by the aroma of my meal. They were so interested on what I had brought in and after some banter a creative seed was planted in my head. One of my co-workers mentioned that I should start making meals for people as a business. At that point in time I had been consistently meal prepping for 6 months, only for my mom and I. However, I never thought about sharing my creativity in such a manner. A month later, I delivered my first set of plant-based meals to my co-workers. The process is something I enjoy on a weekly basis, from crafting the menu, shopping for fresh ingredients and sprinkling the final garnish on each container. But, like Gilbert says, you have to be ready and be willing to make that idea come to life. So, here I am thinking of ways to expand my plant-based meal prep service as I write to y’all.

I look forward to keeping you updated on my newest venture soon! 🙂

“Don’t rush through the experiences and circumstances that have the most capacity to transform you. Don’t let go of your courage the moment things stop being easy or rewarding.”

I hope y’all enjoyed this book review and give Big Magic a place on your bookshelves. Talk to you all again soon.

Take care.

Much Love,

Ashna

XOXO