Creative Reads: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Why it's so good: Big Magic breaks through illusions and shows us why human creativity is essential to us all.


Norman Rockwell's sarcastic take on modern art and Jackson Pollock, 1962 cover of the Saturday Evening Post.

All of us are creative beings. We might not all be writers, designers and musicians - but inside each of us lives the desire to bring forth our thoughts, feelings and ideas. What I love about this book is that through Gilbert's relatable voice, she breaks down the idea that there are "creatives" and "non-creatives." Some of us make a living professionally centered on the right side of our brains, some don't, but creative living is, as Gilbert says, "amplified living," and open to us all.


"I'm talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than fear." - Elizabeth Gilbert/Big Magic

Another point I found insightful is the idea that maybe it's not about "following your passion," which has become almost cliche. I appreciate that Gilbert states the obvious in that if you already know your "passion," chances are, you're already pursuing it. She asks a more intriguing question. What about following your curiosity?


Here's another perspective in the book I found enlightening. At it's origin, creativity and the urge to bring into focus our blurry ideas is at it's genesis,  a solitary experience. We receive the whispers of inspirations through all our senses. Exploring these callings is our rite and a noble use of our short and wonderful lives. It also doesn't need to be affirmed by the world in order to be deemed worthwhile. Our pursuit and the experience we have along the way are validation enough.


Check out Paint Your Bicycle, the chapter on playwright Clive James breaking through creative blocks.