I happen to believe that we are all walking repositories of buried treasure. I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels – that’s creative living. The often surprising results of that hunt – that’s what I call Big Magic.
(Elizabeth Gilbert )
It constantly amazes me where avid readers get the energy to write a book review in a manner that they can relate the events to their own life journey. The fact that you can finish an entire book for a review is amazing enough for me. However, after so much contemplation on this particular book, I finally got myself a copy (and the last one in the bookstore, at that!) and truly, I can say, how epic it is for some hundreds-page book to impact my life so much.
I’m talking about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.
I will admit, ever since I saw Elisa gushing about this book, it has haunted me forever. When I finally decided to get myself a copy, I couldn’t find a copy in any bookstore I went to. It frustrated me for a bit, but I knew I would find a copy soon enough. True enough, Promenade’s Fully Booked was my sweet spot. I inquired about the book and lo and behold, it was the last one in stock. Elisa’s thoughts after reading this book also inspired me to do the same, albeit I wasn’t really planning on it, I want to say I was simply enjoying Gilbert’s book, but I didn’t want to pass up on the chance when the inspiration struck, you know?
However, being the fickle-minded person that I am, I put off reading it until days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. Out of the too many times that I would lose my zest in writing, I picked this book from my pile and started reading. I got hooked. I brought it to our weekend trip weeks ago, and I got even more hooked. I was a Gilbert fan even before this book, but this woman simply continues to amaze me. Gilbert has this way of writing in such a raw form that it’s beautiful how she exactly writes down everything before you even think of them, and how painful they are because her words reveal nothing but the truth. I can’t put in ito writing and I know none of my words would give justice to her talent and wit, but suffice to say, Gilbert is one of the most creative souls I’m grateful to have encountered, even if it’s just through papers and videos, even if I have yet to meet her in person, when by then I would surely be just awestruck and act like a complete idiot because I’m fangirling too hard.
I’m just halfway through the book and I can already say that this will by my Creatives Bible from now on. It’s the kind of book I never want to end, but when I do, I would gladly read over and over again. That’s a big thing for me to say, considering that I never repeat a book after I’m done with it.
Honestly speaking, this book has enabled me to widen my horizon as regards to creative thinking, it has given me a grasp of reality for general artists out there, and at the same time it has challenged me to go beyond my normal thinking and question bigger things that I can actually achieve myself. Being a writer, I can never have that assurance to always deliver what I need to or in ways that I’d want, but this is something that I’m claiming for myself, I want to keep writing, be it for a living or purely out of passion. We are not the same people we were a year, a month, even a week ago, and I can say the same is true for me. I didn’t grow up having that itch to write when my thoughts were too much to handle (or wait, maybe I did, I just didn’t acknowledge it), but now I can say that writing is a big part of my life. It’s what allows me to earn and it’s my sanctuary when I feel dark, light or a little bit of both.
I’m writing this blog post because something happened last night that I couldn’t – still can’t – wrap my head around. My dad asked me to work for the company he works for as an internal auditor. Before I tell you why this little favor, as I would call it from his part, made me go on my typical overthinking mode, let me give you a little background of my work life after I graduated from college. It took me months to find a job and when I did, it was way too stressful than I had imagined. Sure, a job is a job, but it’s far different when your heart’s not in it and you keep finding ways to avoid your bosses. It was a strenuous job and it didn’t help that I didn’t like what I was doing. I didn’t know what I wanted, all I know was that I wanted to get out of there ASAP, and leave I did. As I went soul searching just in the comfort of our living room, day in and out, I pondered on the idea of using my passion as a profession, because why not, right? I knew I could write, so why not do it and earn some cash? It seemed a logical thing to do as a temporary sanity amidst my ongoing personal crisis then. I hopped from one writing job to another, which has brought me to where I am now.
The offer is tempting. The money is good, but do I really want to spend 12 hours for 5 days a week counting socks and making reports? Do I want to make a bodega my second home, get free rides with my dad on the way to and from work, and not be touched by anyone because my dad sits on one of the high chairs in the company? I don’t think so. Not to be proud, but as far as I can see, I have endured a year going on two, working this mere writing job not for the money, but because I like what I do. Sure, there are slow days, but when is there never? I can use some help sometimes, but don’t we all?
I wanted to refuse the offer right then and there, or at least tell my dad that I’d think about it, but I couldn’t spit out the words. I couldn’t gather the courage to say, “But, dad, I don’t want to work there. I don’t want to spend my mornings and evenings with you. I don’t want to ride home with you every single day like how I used to when I was still in college. I don’t want to keep doing something what I’m trying to avoid. I want to write. I want to venture the creative world. I want to meet artists by work and artists by heart. I don’t want to go corporate because it’s the safest thing to do. I want to be a wild spirit in my own ways.”
The clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time anymore to think so small.
Big Magic has helped me in ways that I didn’t know I needed. Gilbert has taught me, through her words, that it’s okay to not be the best yet, even if it’s something we all want to be. It’s okay to be a slow creative as long as you honor your creative side and make it a conscious part of your life. It’s okay to start small because that’s when big things – big magic – happen. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and so is an artist not made overnight. Gilbert’s words made an impact in my life so strong that it enabled me to write a 1,000-word blog post. If her words alone are not magic enough, I’m not sure what is.
Right now, I’m trying to tap into my creative being, and I already have some ideas in mind, ideas that I just have to turn into reality and make happen. But it’s a start. At this point, I don’t even care if any soul reads this, because I’m writing this at my own disposal (and reference). There are so many passages I’ve highlighted in Gilbert’s book and I can pretty much guarantee this early that I will go back to this book and start from square one should I need a sprinkle of magic again.
There is no time or space where inspiration comes from – and also no competition, no ego, no limitations. There is only the stubborness of the idea itself; refusing to stop searching until it has found an equally stubborn collaborator.
Work with that stubborness.
Work with it openly and trustingly and diligently as you can.
Work with all your heart, because – I promise – if you show up for your work day after day after day, you just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom.
I got Big Magic in the hope of being awed; and awed I was. I thought it was a typical book, sort of like a journal, or a little bit of a self-help, but it has brought me places and gifted me with ideas so bold I’m actually excited to open another chapter of my life. Money aside, I want to keep writing. It’s already embedded in my system too tightly that I would not be able to survive without it. What can I say, words bring meaning to my life, literally and figuratively.
Be ready. Keep your eyes open. Listen. Follow your curiosity. Ask questions. Sniff around. Remain open. Trust in the miraculous truth that new and marvelous ideas are looking for human collaborators every single day. Ideas of every kind are constantly galloping towards us, constantly passing through us, constantly trying to get our attention.
Let them know you’re available.
If you’re like me who constantly yearns for that Big Magic to happen in her life, I urge you to grab a copy of this book. I swear you will not regret it. And when you do, do me a favor and relish every word. Absorb as much as you can and don’t turn a page without fully comprehending the paragraphs on the current page you’re on. Don’t skip a line just because you can, because I assure you, every line is important, every sentence matters, every thought has something to offer. Just read and absorb, that’s all I ask. I normally lend my books, but this one’s too precious to me. Unless you can give me the assurance that you will return it, go look for your own copy. 🙂
You will never be able to create anything interesting out of your life if you don’t believe that you’re entitled to at least try. Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that – merely by being here – you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.
Embrace, nourish, grow that creative itch,
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Bae is a 20-something passion blogger from Manila. She likes hoarding hobbies and trying out new stuff, blogging about her mundane adventures, and tweeting about random realizations and musings.