Can you stand one more book review? I hope so because if you are looking for a nudge to help you live the most creative life you can, you won't want to miss Elizabeth Gilbert's newest book:
Gilbert is best known for her blockbuster "Eat, Love, Pray" which folks either loved or hated. Very few readers know that Gilbert had published 3 (award winning) books and numerous articles before her best seller hit the stands. Even fewer knew that during these productive writing years, Gilbert maintained her day jobs. "I was not going to burden my creative muse," she explains, "with the job of paying my electric bill." How kind of her....and likewise, the muse has been generous with her. But I am getting ahead of myself and her story.....
If you have not had the privilege of hearing Gilbert's 2009 TED talk , stop right here, get a cup of coffee and listen to a great 20 minute discussion on the role of work ethic, showing up and being creative. Now.
Sidebar here: Having also read "The Last American Man" and the newer "Signature of All Things",
I am enthralled with Ms Liz because her genre and her styles are varied, she has no desire to crank out formula books or stick with one style in her work. For me, in the creative world, this is a SWOON moment.
OK, you're back. When I read that Malaprops Bookstore was bringing Gilbert to Asheville I jumped at the chance to hear her (breath her air, see what she wore...ok, I'm a groupie). Road Trip. Girl Talk. Big Magic. Big Fun.
Listening to Gilbert (or reading this book) is not taxing. It is rather like your best friend telling you things you really know deep down; she has a way of kicking you where you need to be kicked and hugging you at the same time. Her mid-western farm roots, so very evident in her approach to work,(no farmer ever looked at a cow and whined, "I'm just not in the mood for milking today, I'm not feeling it.....think I'll have more coffee instead.") and her belief that we can all lead a creative life (such is "driven more by a sense of curiosity than by fear") make her hopelessly engaging. The audience was putty in her hands.
But Gilbert is also one to call a spade a spade, look you square in the eye, tell you where the dog died. "What are the things you need to say NO to in order to hold back energy for those creative moments," she asks, almost as foreshadowing to why she could not stay and sign our books (which had already been signed and sent to us). "I don't know is a legitimate answer," she cautions for times we form an opinion or devise a plan too quickly, without thinking. And one of my favorites, a paraphrase from a CEO she knew "You will never get into trouble for failing...as long as you fail in increasingly more interesting ways."
Talk about permission. No excuses. No obstacles that can't be overcome. And the promise that pursuing a more creative life results in happiness.
For readers thinking "creative" refers only to writers or painters?! Bite your tongue. Gilbert's manifesto starts with the fact that we are all imbued with creative impulses...we honor our Creator by living them.
And that's all I will reveal.
Get the book, underline it, turn down pages. Reread it. And don't waste a minute discovering how you can banish the fear we all experience on the road to living more creatively.
With Blessings to Your Muse,