Tuesday, July 18, 2017

BIG MAGIC, by Elizabeth Gilbert: Welcoming Speech for Fear

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is a joy to read. Mail on Sunday says the book is "brimming with positive ways to think about creative living." Huffington Post says "I have profoundly changed my approach to creating since I read this book." Harper's Bazaar says "Gilbert demystifies the creative process, [...]" AND I, Alice Teh, agree with everything that was said.

I say please read this book. Gilbert encourages us to face and accept our fears of creativity. She encourages us to live a life driven by curiosity than by fear. We spend too much time "defending" our weaknesses. I love this quote: "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them." Why would we want to keep our limitations?

To go anywhere interesting or to do anything interesting, we must learn to travel comfortably alongside our fear. When I reached page 25 of the book, I made a note to myself to own this:
Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you'll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I'm about to do anything interesting—and, may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There's plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. [...] p.25
There is no point in trying to kill fear or go to war against it, but it sure makes total sense to make space for it.

Gilbert also talks about not being a stereotyped 'Tormented Artist' (check out page 39 for the list of traits) and she suggested a different approach instead: PARTNER with inspiration. "You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures," says Gilbert. Work steadily, thank the process. Just go make stuff.

With that, my friends, what better way to pass my days than by spending my life collaborating to the best of my abilities with forces of inspiration, and always with gratitude.