Updated: Sep 15, 2022
We've all been dazzled by its mystical charm. The exact card in our mind's eye is plucked from an otherwise ordinary deck. A metaphorical, or maybe literal, rabbit is pulled from the hat. Magic involves witnessing or experiencing something that is nearly, if not impossible, to explain. But there must be a reason and we have an undying obsession as humans to understand.
What does this have to do with a book on creative thinking? As it turns out, a lot.
I've spent decades of my life in the analytical word, doing my best to make sense of what's happening around me, allowing logic and reason to guide my path through life. My mind was convinced there was a formulaic approach to mapping out what we desire, charting a well-defined path, and following it to our destination. And there is... for some things. For other things, though, could there be a different, and dare I say, better way?
We've all been greeted by those sparks of genius. Some occur in a flash as a split second of divine inspiration. Others obstinately remain with us, insistent on being heard and paid attention to. This is magic. No, this is big magic. It doesn't make sense... where it comes from, how it finds us, or why it chooses us. But it does, and it's an opportunity for us to do one of the things we most crave as human beings. Create.
I sit here, typing this review with my morning cup of coffee, and know this book will have a special place reserved for it on my bookshelf. While decades of my life may have been consumed by logic, most of the last one has been filled with a trust and belief that we don't need to understand everything. We only need to accept what's presented to us and allow ourselves to be enveloped, like a magic cloak, by its charm.
Liz Gilbert's passion and authenticity shine through in this brilliant offering. It isn't pretentious or preachy. It's real. It might feel otherworldly and supernatural at times, but there hasn't been a book I've read in a long time that has felt more grounded, motivating, and inspiring when it comes to embracing the creative spirit inside us.
The thoughts presented by Liz make perfect sense, and they don't. We must hold and let go. We need to care deeply and not care at all. The creative world is filled with these paradoxes that can cripple us if we allow it. But there is another way, and Ms. Gilbert shows us one of those ways. Her way. Her conversational tone is lighthearted and carefree in one breath but deeply emotional and thought-provoking in the next. But always, it is real. I found myself involuntarily responding to her thoughts, as if the physical pages could receive my words and somehow transport them to her ears. Truth be told, there's a small part of me that now believes this is possible. Why not? It's a question I found myself asking and answering repeatedly with an affirmative nod. I devoured these words as though I was sharing a cup of coffee with Liz over a causal conversation in a local café.
Her words and ideas add depth and meaning to those nagging questions. Where did this idea come from? How did it find me? And why did it choose me? The bite-sized nuggets of wisdom lasting only a few pages each are perfect for consuming on those days when you need a jolt of caffeine for the creative soul.
Anyone who knows me (and you probably all know me a little better after this lengthy review) appreciates my love for the power of stories, the written word, and the emotions layered inside them. For me, a story is caffeine for the soul. But sometimes, you need a cup of coffee earlier in the day that inspires you to create that story, mold that clay, choreograph that dance, or compose that symphony. This book is that cup of coffee.
Things we experience in everyday life sometime go against everything that is traditionally accepted (perhaps like the length and tone of this review, being more like an emotional barometer than a review of the information contained in the book). But this review feels right to me, just as it is. And that, my friends, is how and where this review arrives at its end for me, and hopefully serves as a beginning for you.
Listen to those quiet whispers. Pay attention to them. Act on them and go create something. Anything and everything you create is beautiful. It's a part of who you are, and a higher power is conspiring to help, if you give it permission. I hope this review, in all its atypical and nonconforming composition, is one of those quiet whispers. Believe in magic. No, wait... believe in Big Magic.
Dave’s Rating: ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️
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