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Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat Pray Love.  I saw the film with Julia Roberts in.  I didn’t really get it.  I never read the book.  Apparently it was a big deal in a lot of women’s lives.  I guess I just never had that journey.  Nevertheless I picked up Big Magic having seen it in a bloggers must read list.  I suppose it sits in the self-help section really so for many reasons wouldn’t usually have made it into my Amazon basket.

So glad it did!

It is only since I have read it that I have become interested in Elizabeth Gilbert.  I quite like her.  She’s quite a gal.  One of those women I come across that I think I would like to be friends with and hope she would live up to her on-line personna.  The book certainly seemed to give me an idea of who she is.

Elizabeth has always wanted to be a writer.  She has always been a writer.  When she left school her job was writer but for some years she had to bar tend and waitress to pay the bills.  In her time away from earning money she wrote.  She practiced her art.  In this book she speaks about that art, how she has honed it, what she believes about it and how she thinks it is magical.  She applies this across the board to all artistic endeavours.

She explains that not everyone is going to be a superstar but you shouldn’t craft wanting to be one.  You should write or draw, paint or sculpt, because it brings you joy.  The superstar bit is rare and less than likely.

She talks about ideas and how they bounce along until they find the person who is going to develop them.  One of her anecdotes relates to how an idea found her but she did not have time to tend to it so it literally moved on to the next person.  Elizabeth found the person who the idea had found quite by accident.  The nature of the story that she had planned to write and the story that was written by the other author are so similar and so unusual that you find yourself quite taken by her suggestion.

I think the idea journey was one of the biggest things I took out of the book.  Listen.  Is the idea knocking?  Don’t turn it away.  See what happens.  I liked that.  My dreams were quite vivid for a few nights!!!

She talks about tips that she relies on when she is struggling to find creativity.  She talks about sometimes just trying to find creativity.  She talks about not finding creativity but going with the flow and just seeing where she ends.  Her book, The Signature of All Things, came about as a result of a desperate search for creativity with no lighting strike.  Avoiding desperate thoughts or panic she just followed a line of enquiry.  She found herself interested in gardening for the first time.  She planted and she learned the names of her plants.  Having learned the names of them and their Latin names she started to research the plants history, what countries they had come from, how they came to be in America.  Her research took her around the world visiting botanical gardens.  The story of The Signature of All Things therefore was born.

I went on to read The Signature of All Things and I loved it.  This woman can write.  She has carefully honed her skills.  I might even go on to read Eat Pray Love, you never know.

The Botanical Gardens in Copenhagen I visited because of Elizabeth Gilbert

I found this book to be a really entertaining read.  I liked Elizabeth’s writing style.  She is very friendly and chatty.  She is well read and adds in plenty of useful quotes and references to other clever people.  I don’t think this book is just for people who are creatives.  I think it is for all of us.  It showed me that we can all be creative, it is part of being a human being.  It made me feel like I don’t need to do something that will result in world superstardom.  I can just do something that makes me happy.  Much as world superstardom might be nice.  Obviously.