Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was an accidental library check out, I had intended and thought I was getting a different book but since I’m already behind schedule and can’t afford to loose a day I just went with it. This is a “self-help”/motivational book about how to better live a creative life. Now I’ve never read anything by Elizabeth Gilbert before, but I was pleasantly surprised by just how likable she is. Her tone throughout the book was relaxed and casual, the more I read the more I wanted to be friends with her. There were so many moments and stories she told that made me legit laugh out loud. Her overall message was that of positivity, love, and how everything in life isn’t so serious so just relax a little and enjoy life and creating. Most of what she had to say in this book I supported except one minor part that rubbed me a little wrong. Towards the end of the book there was section in which she spoke about this “tortured artist” mentality people have where they think great art can only come from struggle and pain. I was still with her at this point because great art can come from struggle and pain but that isn’t the only way to get great art. Where she lost me was when she went on to say that people sometimes take drugs with the hope of becoming addicted, fake addictions, end up as suicidal casualties because of their creative process, and how they refuse to (for lack of a better saying) pull themselves up by their bootstraps because they think being an artist means you have to have terrible behavior (rude, antisocial, manipulative, selfish). I felt myself almost recoil as I read this. Are there some people who have been dealt a lovely hand of cards by life but choose to fake mental disorders, addictions, and reasons to be pitied? Yeah sure, but I am very certain that is a very rare minority of artists. Famous “tortured” artists who had addictions, mental health issues, or committed suicide are much more likely to have genuinely had those situations and couldn’t get help they needed rather than to have fabricated them. I get the thought that suffering produces remarkable art, suffering is a pure emotion that allows your eyes to be opened to the world around you without rose colored glasses. If you have suffered it is easier to tap into real and accurate emotions for your art, but that isn’t the only way. Mental illness and addiction are incredibly serious, life long battles that most people who experience them would gladly give up if they could. This issue I had with the point she made didn’t ruin the whole book or anything, but it did sully it up a little. 

One thought on “Book 30: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert 

  1. I really want to read this book. I love how it is a self help book which can help you to become more creative. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. You wrote an incredible post by the way and I love your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

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