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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear Paperback – 2015
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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Praise for Eat Pray Love:
“Gilbert’s prose is fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible.”—Jennifer Egan, The New York Times Book Review
“A meditation on love in its many forms … her extraordinary journey lets even the most cynical reader dare to dream.” – Los Angeles Times
Praise for The Signature of All Things:
“A bracing homage to the many natures of genius and the inevitable progress of ideas, in a world that reveals its best truths to the uncommonly patient minds.”– Barbara Kingsolver, The New York Times Book Review
“Raucously ingenious…Signature is not just a historical novel that spans two centuries and many geographies. It’s a 500-page novel of ideas…I found unshackled joy on every page.” -- The Chicago Tribune
“A delightful book…one of the best of the year…Gilbert marries the technical, cultural and spiritual with a warm, frankly funny wit that adds richness to all three.”– “All Things Considered,” NPR
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and several other internationally bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction. Gilbert began her career writing for Harper's Bazaar, Spin, The New York Times Magazine and GQ, and was a three-time finalist for the National Magazine Award. Her story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award; The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The follow-up memoir Committed became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. Her latest novel, The Signature of All Things, was named a Best Book of 2013 by The New York Times, O Magazine, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The New Yorker. Gilbert’s short fiction has appeared in Esquire, Story, One Story, and the Paris Review.
From the Hardcover edition.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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This was the message I (apparently) desperately needed to hear. I’m a stay-at-home mom with three young children. And when people ask me what I do, that is what I always tell them. But that isn’t what I want to tell them. What I want to tell them—what I want to shout from the rooftops, in fact—is that I’m a writer. Sure, barely anyone reads what I write, I’ve never been published, and it probably goes without saying that I’ve never been paid for a single sentence. In other words, no one really gets anything out of my work but me. But I love it, straight up. So I keep writing, regardless.
Yet it feels weird to declare yourself “A Something!” when that something doesn’t earn you money or status or likes or hits or retweets. Which means even though this side-passion feels so authentically “me,” I hide it so people won’t think I’m a loser, an imposter, a wannabe, an embarrassment, a failure…and the list goes on.
I guess this reality had been bumming me out more than I realized, because when I read the following words, they resonated with me in an unimaginably powerful and loving way--like I was receiving a cosmic hug:
“Shake yourself free of all your cumbersome ideas about what you require in order to become ‘creatively legitimate’… You do not need a permission slip from the principal’s office to live a creative life. Or if you do worry that you need a permission slip—THERE, I just gave it to you… Now go make something.”
In other words, Gilbert’s message is this: accept that you need to create. Accept that this is a part of you, that you are ALREADY “creatively legitimate.” And just do what you naturally feel compelled to do. Do it with joy—even when it gets difficult—and don’t worry about how it will be received (if it’s received at all). If you are called to be a maker, then you will just have to make. Own who you are, for better or worse.
So that’s what I’m doing from now on. I’m owning it. This is me stating my intent:
Hello, world. My name is Ladybug. I am a writer.
stride in this book... when reading a book that I absolutely don't want to stop...I want to keep seeing flashing neon lights framed around the BIG MAGICal WORDS that spells, "YES YES YES YES YES!"
Thankfully, I'm also in the section where Gilbert reminds and affirms that LIFE doesn't always abide to how and what we want when we want it...but she also encourages that... if we are faithful lovers, that magical "IT" won't leave us either. So, I have 100 pages remaining, but am SO pumped and happy that I have this snippet of time to WRITE... a review.
If you're passionate about your writing, your art, your whatever-makes-your-precious-heart-sing & be happy... I highly recommend Gilbert's book -- this one. For if you've stalled, set down, given up, cried privately, wondered if it's just too freaking late for you to be the artist, the receiver, a creator, because of the other practical life... here is an experienced wayshower who calls your bluff, your whatever you've told yourself why you can't. She's been rejected (tons), she's kept her day jobs, she's continued through deserts of unknown, silence, angst, doubt, about "the work"...and she's laying it out for us/me/you/your offspring/your friend... find your way.
Find it. Because it IS there (patiently waiting, playing, whistling, digging in the sand with its toes) and it's probably not quite how you've framed it (if you've stalled).
I am feeling this is my "eat, pray,, love writing" book. Thank you, Elizabeth (and I adored your comment, "Are you finished with that?" Thank you again ~
-it is not a dense, instructional, or academic primer about creativity.
-although Gilbert applies her thinking to all types of creativity, it's not really about anything but writing. Gilbert is a writer, and her examples are about writing. Although, someone who needs inspiration to pursue that creative hobby they've always loved may find some here.
-it's not high brow, and nothing Gilbert talks about is researched or proven. I guess that relates to the first point, which is that
This is a very *light* book. It's an encouraging book. And it's a book that contains, I think, some ideas you may not have heard before, or ideas we don't hear enough. Namely the idea that if you think about inspiration and writing ideas as independent spirits floating about in the ether, you need to do everything you can to attract them. Also that there's no reason to suffer for art, but there's every reason to enjoy it.
I don't really think Gilbert meant for her ideas to constitute a "religion of writing." But it's helpful to think about, in terms of your own positivity, dedication, and openness to creativity. Gilbert assures us that if we approach writing with joy, if we ignore all of the excuses we create not to write (I'm not good enough, I'm too old, I don't have an MFA, it will never pay, etc etc), and make space for creativity in our lives, that the writing will come, and it will be fulfilling.
I gave this book 4 stars because anytime I picked it up and read a few pages (I deliberately took more than a year to finish it), I was guaranteed to write afterward. So that's how I used it. Whenever I needed encouragement, I read a few pages. Whenever I was feeling overwhelmingly negative about writing, I read a few pages. Whenever I was convinced that I would never write a decent word, I read a few pages. In this way, I savored the book like Charlie savors his bar of chocolate for a whole month, nibbling at it in the dead of night when he needed it most.
In sum, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who is looking to study, or intellectually explore creativity. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants to write. It worked for me. And I'll come back to it again whenever I'm feeling low about writing, because without fail, it made me want to write. And that's it.
Most recent customer reviews
If you’re in a rut, this book will lift you up.