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Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Magic of Creativity

I enjoy finding those authors and artists who approach creativity with a sense of joy instead of struggle, with an overall feeling of magic rather than drudgery. Yes, there may be -- and probably are -- moments of frustration and challenge in the writing process, but I have no interest in spending the majority of my creative time caught up in angst and despair (it is enough for me that pivotal points in my life dwelt within that conflicted space and led me into healing through creativity).

Over the past several years, I have been tickled to hear various creative types speak to this joy in creation (Thomas Moore, Julia Cameron). Most recently, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about what she refers to as Mystery and Big Magic in her conversation with Tami Simon (Sounds True):

“ … to think of my creative life as a collaboration between one human’s efforts—and that would be me—and the divine Mystery of inspiration. … I’ve spent my work days in collaboration with that Mystery. I can’t think of a more beautiful way to spend my life—sort of talking to it, asking questions of it, cooperating with it. [I sit] down to work every day with the commitment that I will not wrestle it or fight it or abuse myself against it. But I will ask it every day what it wants from me and try to work with it as respectfully and reverently as I can. It leads to a really joyful kind of creation.” 

I held off reading Gilbert's Eat Pray Love until much of the hype had died down, and was, I confess, a bit disappointed in it. Probably as a direct result of all the hype. So, when I saw that Gilbert had released her new novel The Signature of All Things, I decided to get it sooner rather than later so I could make up my mind about it without the influence of reviews. I'm glad I did. I found it an odd blend of lovely style, strange characters, and unique story; I didn't particularly like the protagonist and yet at the same time, I was compelled to finish the story at a rapid pace. I felt that Gilbert was able to immerse herself in a freedom of creativity and choice in this story, and, to a large extent, I was carried along in that wake. Perhaps because she had already achieved "success" and could write the story exactly the way she felt it coming through her?

Whatever her personal path to writing and publishing Signature, I am inspired by many of Gilbert's comments throughout the interview (which, with Tami, is usually more of a conversation than a traditional Q&A session).

Let's celebrate the joy and magic of creativity!


  1. i keep hearing about this book - now I'm even more intigued.

  2. I haven't read Gilbert's Eat Pray Love yet, perhaps because of all the hype, but thanks to you I am curious about The Signature of All Things and plan to read it this summer. Really enjoyed your book review and the interview at Sounds True. :)

  3. Would love to hear back from y'all on whether you enjoy reading Signature!


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