joking, joking. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, is the latest book by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, which i never finished.
i borrowed it from the library in summer 2007, shortly after moving back from Italy and in with my parents, a time that was precisely as difficult as it sounds.
my copy had Post-It flags sticking out of nearly every page and i was already about two-thirds through when i quit.
i was unsettled, mired in every kind of transition—linguistic, geographical, social—and her story hit too close to home. in so many ways it felt like looking in a mirror. i wasn’t ready to deal with what i saw.
plus, like lots of people, i respect and envy her. she’s an accomplished and impressive writer but the smallest Julia is jealous. and rationalizes it. surely her subsequent success—the traditional, cash-money kind—outweighs her preceding gloom and suffering?
before moving to LA, i lived near Gilbert. we were separated by 20 minutes of winding, backcountry roads. i could’ve become a groupie, chasing her around the small town and hanging out at the store she and her husband run. i never visited.
what would i’ve said? i am you, in essence. our birthdays are two days apart. adopt me? let me absorb your brilliance? fix my life? but before i move in, i should clarify. you generally drive me nuts and seem smug.
would i have hugged her or wrung her neck? i wasn’t sure. her breezy, happy-ending phoenix story up from the ashes to the pinnacle of culture it-lists was unnerving. simultaneously, we were so similar, i felt like i already knew her. it was a volatile dichotomy i never bothered exploring.
but, i’m hearing her speak tomorrow night.
i’m going for the same reason i attend the class of a yoga teacher i don’t actually like: maybe there’s something to learn. the teacher’s ego disturbs mine and i want to understand what my reaction shows me about myself.
with Gilbert, i’m ready to give her another chance, or a complete first chance. and she definitely has wisdom to share. Big Magic is about the “attitudes, approaches, and habits” we need to live our most creative lives.
look for a re-cap next week.