Things Elizabeth Gilbert is teaching me, from "Big Magic."
Gravity is a fact. No one disputes it. If you jump from a great height (or any height, for that matter), it is understood by all that you will never, ever fall up. It’s comforting to me that I have this fact in common with everyone, every being on the planet. We don’t argue about it. None of us puts the other down for believing it. In fact, “belief” has nothing to do with it. It just is. I’m reading Big Magic (a magnificent book about creativity and how to be in relationship with it), by Elizabeth Gilbert. In it, she posits that creativity is as factual as gravity…for all of us — that it’s available and only wanting to be given space, only waiting to be let in. Wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where this were the prevailing assumption? Where everyone knows what Big Magic is, and how to tend it, seduce it, how to keep from frightening it away? Where we couldn’t even imagine not knowing this? Let me rephrase that. Wouldn’t it be great if *I* could just take the presence of Big Magic, or creativity, for granted? Of course it’s always looking for willing conduits. Of course I am a good conduit, a worthy vessel. Man, if I could take that for granted, how happy would I be to show up to the page or the keyboard or the quilting table and just go for it with no agenda, just to be the medium creativity wants to use today… Can you hear the no-way-that’s-ever-happening underneath what I’m saying? That's the only thing standing between me and a free-for-all in my studio. I (we, all of us) need to drop this insidious negativity. How? Well, the answer, in many colors and incarnations, lies in Gilbert's book. Here's the redux: Nobody cares. Nobody cares! Nobody’s thinking about Me. Nobody’s watching to see what I’ll do next; and even if they were, it still wouldn’t matter. I’ve been trying to write a good fantasy novel, to win poetry contests, to get published. All that agendaThink is like a chunk of lead to the energetic creative that watches me from the corners of my day. It wonders when I’m going to knuckle down and have fun with what I’ve been given. When am I going to make space for that holy timelessness that happens when I’m in that zone, lost in the story or the melody or the fabric design — when? How about now. Nobody cares, and nothing matters. I can give myself an hour to just make something for no reason, every day. We all can. Do you only have five minutes? Awesome. Use them to do something fun for no reason. Enough already with our puritanical addiction to suffering. I’m making something just for fun, and I’m doing it today. For no reason.
How about you?