big magic

Big Magic: A Review

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond FearOf all the books I read in 2015, Elizabeth Gilbert‘s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear was my favorite, by far. Like most readers, I generally elect to read books I know I’ll enjoy, but it isn’t often that I find a book I want everyone I know to read. Big Magic is the book I can’t stop recommending.

The important question here is this: what is “creative living,” for Gilbert? The Eat, Pray, Love author has written and talked extensively about her own journey to creative/spiritual enlightenment, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that Big Magic would prescribe a similar plan of action to readers: give up work, fly to a foreign country, repeat as necessary until enlightenment is achieved. Fortunately for us — and by “us,” I mean the people who are not in a position to embrace this uniquely privileged brand of Bohemian life — that isn’t at all what Gilbert has in mind.

Big Magic takes into consideration the fact that most of us are tethered to a certain place or routine, whether due to finances, children, health, or some other factor. It also acknowledges that most of us will not be able to make a living based on our creativity. You can make the best damn artisinal soaps in the world, but if you’re not doing everything else right, your talents will not be recognized. What’s more, you probably shouldn’t gamble your family’s future on the shaky basis of a what-if. However, all of that doesn’t amount to a reason not to continue making the best damn artisinal soaps you can, so long as it makes you happy.

For those who aren’t used to Gilbert’s brand of guru-ing, Big Magic may come across as crunchy granola. There is an unmistakable spirituality to the creative practice the author preaches. Don’t let that stop you from reading the book, however. The majority of her claims, right down to creative living being good for your well-being, have at least some factual basis. And, although Big Magic may not purport to be a scientific book, that doesn’t mean that even the most skeptical and logical among us can’t benefit from a little creative living.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Image: Maciek Lulko/flickr