13 December 2016

Book Review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Is it Big Magic?

As a general rule, I tend to steer clear of books with titles that could be considered a bit woo-woo. Books with titles like “Big Magic”, for instance. I made an exception in this case because the recommendation came from one of my favourite humans, Seth Godin, in the Slate podcast with Brian Koppelman. 

He didn’t let me down. This book by Elizabeth Gilbert - the author of Eat, Pray, Love - is really one author’s story of how she nurtures creativity. It’s a deeply personal and authentic story. 

As an engineer I’m really not one for anything that could even be construed as supernatural or other-worldly, but I have to admit that I really resonated with Gilbert’s description of what ideas are: 

I believe the creative process is both magical and magic…
I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us - albeit strangely… 
Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. 

I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a very romantic portrayal of something that is usually given to us in a very binary, scientific way. 

I liked the fact that there was very little “you should do this”, or “this has to be done my way”. Gilbert is just describing her own methods and describes what worked for her and if the story resonated with you then great, and if not, also great. 

Gilbert's style is also something that I love. The book is so easy to read and her voice really shines through. It's incredibly conversational, with lots of hyphens and brackets. I know many people will slate this style of writing, but for some reason my brain just got on really well with it and I was able to finish the whole book in a day.  

I loved this book. It’s magic. 

by Nino Rosella