They don't know it yet, but I'm going to make my whole family read this book. I'll even admit to wondering which creatives in my life should receive it as a gift sometime in the next year.
Every so often I run across a book that either changes my thinking or really resonates with me in a way that I feel it reveals deep truths that we instinctively know, but seldom recognize or voice. "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" by Elizabeth Gilbert has both of these elements. It is also incredibly positive and encouraging to creatives of any age or stage. Such a joy to listen to!
One of my many favorite sections is Gilbert likening the creative mind to that of a Border Collie. The Border Collie has a specific job and NEEDS to be doing it to stay calm. If not, it will be depressed, chewing on things, and tearing up the couch. Likewise, the creative HAS to do their creative job to keep from destroying everything or eating everything in the refrigerator. This is such a funny image... but insanely true (for me at any rate... sheepish grin).
And, what has the book inspired me to do? Well, for one, it's let me cheerfully cut back on some of the things I was driving myself to do in order to make the art pay for itself. I realized that I would do the art regardless, and there was no reason to let the art suffer for the business side of things. Then, there's this crazy idea that has been burning a whole in my head for over a month now. It has nothing to do with anything I'm creating now (think minimalism and symbolism instead of impressionism). I realized I just needed to do express the idea. In the short half hour I sat down to scribble what was in my head, I came up with a series of about 45 - 50 paintings. It just flowed from me. Here's a sneak peek...
If you read this book as I (strongly) suggest, please let me know what you think. I'd be especially curious to hear what it inspires in you. -R.B.