The bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love reflects on what it means to pursue a creative life.
At the beginning of her latest book, Gilbert (The Signature of All Things, 2013, etc.) writes that creativity is “the relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration.” Then the author explains how individuals can live that relationship on a daily basis. First and foremost, she writes, people seeking to live creatively and pursue the things that bring them satisfaction must be prepared to live courageously. Only then can they “bring forth the treasures that are hidden within [them].” Gilbert also suggests that the ideas on which all creative acts are based do not come from a person: they are “disembodied, energetic life-form[s]” that seek human hosts who can make them real. This is part of what the author believes makes creativity itself a “force of enchantment—not entirely human in its origins.” To actually manifest ideas requires what Gilbert sees as the ability to give oneself permission to engage in creative acts regardless of what anyone else may think. It also requires persistence and being able to stomach the many “shit sandwiche[s]” of disappointment and frustration that so often go along with creative endeavors. Having a burning passion for the work involved—the intensity of which Gilbert likens to a “hot…extramarital affair”—is also crucial. So is trusting in the creative process—no matter how eccentric and/or nonlinear it may seem—and in the idea that “the work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.” Not all readers will embrace the New-Age way in which Gilbert discusses the creative process, but the sincerity, grace, and flashes of humor that characterize her writing and insights should appeal to a wider audience.
Not earth shattering but warmly inspirational.