A: Can you talk about the importance of that central paradox where what you’re doing is important, but yet it doesn’t really matter? It is always scary. And then it brings these common symptoms: The chills up the back of your neck, the bumps on your arm. ‎Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert returns for the second season of her hit podcast MAGIC LESSONS, ready to help another batch of aspiring artists overcome their fears and create more joyfully. An Interview with Elizabeth Gilbert The Eat, Pray, Love author on her love for Facebook, spontaneous applause while reading, and her manifesto on creativity, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I don’t know what you have within you, but I think the most interesting possible way to walk through the world is to assume that you have some pretty interesting stuff within you. For me, the most interesting part of that entire engagement is not necessarily the thing that you end up making. I do feel like I have one foot with the fairies, and I have one foot with the New York Times. What is stopping a lot of women from engaging with their most creative selves is first and foremost the sense that they don’t have the right to do it. I mean, I really tried to make everyone feel. That is what we do. She said that when she’s on a creative project, she feels as if it’s this highway and the minute she starts asking herself questions at the beginning of the project, like, “Is this viable? Can I actually pull this off? I think a lot of the reason that people won’t say that, is because the next immediate follow up question is, “Well then now what are you going to do?” And you can say, “I don’t know. https://www.lafeltrinelli.it/libri/elizabeth-gilbert/big-magic/9788817083843 How much money it makes. They draw, they sing, they dance, they play. It’s about a way of being in the world. The essence of creativity is the relationship between a human being’s efforts and the mysteries of inspiration. Because you didn’t yesterday. Are you braver now? A: In one of your TED talks, you spoke about that idea of inspiration coming from without, that it’s more of a psychological construct than any kind of metaphysical “magic.”. I’m interested in becoming brave, and there’s a big difference there. What I think is so moving is that so often, the really important statement is, “This is not working for me,” and you do not need to have the next answer to be able to say that. EG: This is the contradiction that we have to figure out how to make enough space to hold in our lives, if we want to have creative lives, and if we want to have sane creative lives, which I think is important to strive for. A: You talked about what big magic does to you, and inspiration came up. Big Magic. Yet curiosity is a generous instinct that just gives. So I don’t know to this day what the exact allotment of my talent for writing is. And not only that, so did everyone until about two hundred years ago. I absolutely believe in talent and I think it’s naïve not to say that that’s a thing. And she did. There are things that just have to be spoken, and then, once they’re spoken, there’s a great deal of power. They’re waiting for lighting in the bottle. We caught up with the brilliant, best-selling author — and sometime audiobook narrator — to discuss her impassioned manifesto on inspiration and creativity (aka, Big Magic), the unexpected and profound impact of Eat, Pray, Love, the secret to karaoke success, and a whole lot more. Stop. There’s a lingering snobbery about social media among literary folk.I think we all know who we’re talking about here. My concern is not that the world is filled with crappy art. Constantly being in the state of unfolding. Hyper-empiricism isn’t enough for us. And, of course, I found it totally the opposite. Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. It is a sacred and holy thing and, I’m happy to be a part of it every Wednesday night. I’m supposed to stay awake, and alert, and receptive, and engaged, and present to as much of what’s going on as I can possibly take. You can’t get rid of it. “Eh, it’s a little too much trouble. I mean before the journey of Eat, Pray, Love and after. Here’s just a sampling of the gems you’re about to discover: You have hidden treasures within you… and so do I, and so does everyone around us. I was born a really fearful kid, really anxious, supersensitive. Let me help you out with this. 10 Lessons Learned from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (Review) What are your thoughts on what inspiration feels like? It doesn’t get to ever suggest detours. If you’re alive, you’re a creative person because you’re part of this whole story of creation. For better or for worse, every inch of this earth has been altered by human making. ‎This week on the RISE Podcast I’m bringing you an interview I had the privilege of recording last month with the incomparable Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the PEN/Hemingway Award. The latest fashion news, beauty coverage, celebrity style, fashion week updates, culture reviews, and videos on Vogue.com. And I’ve had people say to me, “Aren’t you afraid that your book is going to encourage a bunch of talentless people to make a bunch of crappy art?” I had this moment of looking at the person that asked me that like, “You and I come from such different planets. It’s so bizarre. I said in the book, I spent a lot of my life trying to convince my parents that I was absolutely helpless. Elizabeth Gilbert: “Big magic” is my term for what happens to you when you are making a thing. It’s not like you sold your house and shaved your head and moved to Nepal. You’ve just put your finger on what, for me, was maybe the most essential section of the book—the struggle many women have to feel entitled to express themselves creatively. There’s certainly nothing to be lost. It doesn’t get to hold the map. Committed to tackling fear and self-doubt, she helps others do the same through workshops, Ted Talks and more. I love this idea, thinking of talent as something where it’s part of your consciousness that’s weighted? There will be moments in your life again, where you’re totally helpless and other people will have to take care of you. They’re waiting for the sign from God. It is always scary, and I think you just have to be really honest and wise about recognizing that that’s not a bug. When you’re working on editing that sentence or trying to master that dance step, or trying to learn how to sing that song, or trying to make whatever the thing is that you’re making, you have to believe that there’s a point, otherwise you will very quickly quit and be like, “Uh, it doesn’t matter.” But then once you’ve made it, you have to release it into this other realm of, “It’s not that big a deal. Although the book came out in September, I wanted this interview to be my first post of 2016 so her words would inspire you to read Big Magic , stop making excuses and get out there and do the thing that makes you happy. Your ancestors and mine. Constantly saying yes. And I was guilty of that, too. The polymath author Elizabeth Gilbert—short-story writer, National Magazine Award–winning journalist, blockbuster memoirist (Eat, Pray, Love; Committed: A Love Story), and historical novelist (The Signature of All Things)—has now taken on a new role: creativity guru. EG: What inspiration feels like, the clue is a little bit in the word itself which comes to us from the Latin, “to inhale, or imbibe. That’s how a battery works, and then that’s how an engine runs, so that’s the battery flippage that you need to be doing in your creativity. That’s in creation. Don’t make me turn this car around!”, A: Sticking with the theme of fear, I love the subtitle of the book, “Creative Living Beyond Fear.”. It needs to matter, you know? ISBN 978-0-698-40831-9 … You didn’t even know that that marriage was done until you suddenly, out of nowhere, said the words, “This isn’t working anymore.” You didn’t even know how much you hated that job until one night you hear yourself saying, “I literally cannot go another day at this place.”. Awhile back she shared on Facebook that she would be doing a podcast called Magic Lessons, and she asked people to share their creative struggles and would pick a few to interview for her podcast. It’s not a freakish accident that you’re feeling nervousness. Transcript Krista Tippett, host: Elizabeth Gilbert’s name is synonymous with her fantastically bestselling memoir, Eat Pray Love , but she started out writing for publications by men and for men. I’m literally talking to the book; I’m talking to the characters. It’s going to be all right. They were like, “No, you’re not.” They just weren’t buying it for a minute. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights. EG: Well, I would disagree. Permission plus perfectionism, as far as I can see, are really the two issues that make Big Magic and the question of creativity something that we have to discuss. I wish I had taken this page and chopped it down to a paragraph.” There were moments when I was reading it where I would just start laughing and be like, “Who wrote this garbage? Life is something that the universe is doing. Brace yourself for a TRULY powerful episode with the bestselling author and creative genius, Elizabeth Gilbert. ELIZABETH GILBERT, giornalista e scrittrice, vive nel New Jersey (per ora). We all do that stuff. Big Magic is different. Big Magic is a manifesto. Passion’s greedy, in a way. To spend your life defending your fears. You are something that is happening. We love it, but it’s not enough. In fact I think it’s kind of necessary to believe in both in order to be a productive and a joyful artist at the same time. This is a joke I make often, but I have the soul of a very serious writer, and I have the personality of an airline stewardess or an aerobics instructor. If I can shake those two trees a little bit, than maybe we can get some more people ceasing to simply be consumers, and to become makers instead. It’s important to me that I constantly tell people, “I’m working on a novel right now. Overview. Did you discover nuances there? There’s a great deal of power in that statement because it echoes, and reverberates, and exists in a world now that challenges you. And it’s not that they were evil or dark. You just make it a painting. I’ve met fearless people. EG: Your soul has to hear you say it. And what that is, is big magic, because it unfolds aspects of yourself that you never knew you had. On one hand, I can talk about inspiration in a way that will make empirical people not get hives, and the way that I talk about it then is to say, “It feels like …” We lean on metaphor. EG: I always say, “If you’re alive, then you’re a creative person.” I know there are people who will buck against that. “The beginning was the word,” right? You take your efforts and you enter into this very bizarre, often otherworldly, collaboration with the mysteries of inspiration. That public singing, public collective singing, is a very important part of the human being. I think it’s a false choice, and it’s a false duality. Where you didn’t even know you wanted that, until you heard your voice say it. To bring in.” To inspire, right? That you’re concerned about people making crappy art. Is there something else that’s going to help you have an expanded life? You recall the preindustrial time when art, science, and spirituality didn’t have strong divisions; you celebrate the divinity in creation. And you can say to yourself, “I know it feels like this is the end of your life, but we’re just trying to write a poem. EG: I can talk about inspiration in two ways. We’re antennas. I feel like these are not very humane or accessible ideas for most people in everyday life. In my head, Elizabeth Gilbert is my best friend so doing a phone interview with her was absolutely one of the highlights of last year for me. You’ve thrown it, and then you’ve got to go catch up with it. And your fear is genetically programmed to forbid you from doing that. We have sight, we have hearing, we have sound, we have emotion. I do all that stuff. If you don’t think that what you’re trying to make is the most important thing in the world, then there’s no reason to bother trying to make it because it’s so hard to do. But if you’re one hundred percent committed, you always look kind of cool, no matter how bad it turns out. I’m a joiner. That’s where creation begins. It’s going to be there, but it doesn’t get to drive. That still is a whisper, right? To stop breathing. Or a young woman in Toronto who’s going to school for acting and having doubts and questions about whether this is the right path for her. If you’ve watched either of Elizabeth Gilbert’s erudite and compelling TED talks on creativity (“Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating” and “Your Elusive Creative Genius”), then you know that she is equally talented at speaking eloquently about the ups and downs of the artistic life while injecting warmth, humor, and fitting anecdotes into the conversation. It’s all good. That’s truly what it feels like. The important thing is what the thing does to you. For me, my whole life of creativity has not been about becoming fearless. And I can hear them not liking this book as I’m writing it, and I’m talking to them out loud, too. Whatever you’ve put around that thing is preventing you from being able to pick up these signals that are supposed to come to you. The obsession. The wisest people I’ve ever met are the people who are capable of holding two completely contradictory ideas to be true at the same time. We talked with Gilbert about her own writing process, the unexpected inspiration she found in social media, and what continues to hold women back from acting on their ambitions and desires. Just nothing. Right? It’s about this.” And once you say it, you’re like, “I guess I’m doing that.” Because now I’ve said it. All rights reserved. They just flip like this. Sometimes you have to go back and forth between those two states in the span of five minutes. The great artist and cartoonist, Linda Barry, has this fantastic way of describing this, because she teaches people who are not artists how to make art. Person, after person, after person, in those essays had this realization, “Not this. It’s interesting, but is there something else, right? And the other thing is, of course, perfectionism, which I do think is a demon that torments women even more than it torments men—that sense that you’re not allowed to put anything forward in the world until it and you are shellacked into a state of immaculate perfectionism. It’s your split of the loot, basically. Who are you going to be? The Best Black Audiobook Narrators to Listen To Right Now, Escape From Our Echo Chambers Starts With Listening Greatness, Claire Adam's Debut Novel 'Golden Child' Shows That No Person Is An Island, Even When Living On One, 7 Ways You Can Enjoy The Baby-Sitters Club, Kittens, Kisses, And Razorblades: Behind Star Trek's Iconic Sounds. I’m saying, “Look, you guys will have your chance. It doesn’t happen to apply to my life. Writing is a kind of whispered voice. Do you want to do this? Who cares?” If you’re just apathetic, you’ll never make anything. And the answer is, “I don’t know.” I just know that there’s a thing that wants us to work with it in co-creating the world and I’m happy to sign up and say yes, and be part of that story. Those are a great comfort to me, and I love, love, love her voice. EG: I don’t know anyone who’s ever lived their whole life autonomously. EG: My favorite audiobook narrator is Juliet Stevenson, who reads all of the Jane Austen books. What was your favourite thing to do before someone told you weren't very good at it? Let’s have this be as peaceful a neighborhood as it can be. I mean it’s yours to spend however you like, so you can waste it on hookers and eight balls, which it seems like a lot of really talented people in Hollywood do. She did a beautiful reading of Middlemarch by George Elliot, which is one of my favorite books. What could be more interesting than being a person where history has shown us that literally anything can happen to literally anybody at literally any moment? I’m a fixed entity.” All evidence points to that not being true. It’s just that your fear always asks you to do the same thing, which is: nothing. That is how it is. Any of those questions are exit ramps off the highway that she very dearly needs to stay on, and if she takes the exit ramps into any of those fear-based questions, she’s going to end up, as she puts it, “in a very bad neighborhood” where people are going to steal her hubcaps off her car, and beat her up, and leave her for dead, and that’ll be the end for her creative project. That’s really cool. I’ve never written something that comes from such a strong place of, “This is how it is.” There’s almost this real firmness of it, so the emotion that I was feeling was more an urgency, like, “Come on, you guys. If you’re spending your life so afraid of your senses, and so afraid of your feelings, and so afraid of the world, that you’ve muffled that antenna with whatever you can muffle it with — with alcohol, with drugs, with food, with self-hatred, with television, with blame, with rage. The rise of the memoir as a literary form—women, including yourself, have very much been at the forefront of this—has had a lot to do with the struggle to own one’s own experience and voice.Without a doubt. You know, if you look at it just from a biological standpoint, what you’re doing when you’re engaging in pure creativity is you’re saying to the universe, to the world, to yourself, “I’m going to take the most precious resource I have, which is my time, my life, my energy that could be used doing very reasonable things. That is some pretty fascinating stuff. The word “talent” comes to us from Latin. Her new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (Riverhead), which grew out of her hugely popular TED talk, directly addresses the fans Gilbert has won over the … And I have to operate from this place that it’s real. And then comes the weird part of the alchemy, of turning it into whatever it’s going to turn into, but what you have to figure out how to be is the most-sober — and I mean that in all the definitions of the word — the cleanest, antenna. Please don’t talk about it now while I’m trying to do this, because right now I have to do this thing.”. You’ve got this road, and there’s your curiosity, and everything that it leads to on this side, and you’ve got your fear, and your fear is like, “No.” Whenever I come to my fear, even now, I say, “I’m listening to you, and I know that you don’t want me to do this. So you’re this thing that’s happening. And something happened to me, in the middle of adolescence, where I just had this realization that this is a weird battle to be having. A very generous spirit of, “We’re all welcome here,” and that has not changed. I feel so sorry for every college student graduating who ever sat there sweltering under their graduation gowns while somebody at the podium told them to follow their passion. Prone to very dramatic meltdowns at any new experience. To a certain extent, of course. That’s not enough for human beings. Constantly bothering to turn your head a quarter of an inch to look a little bit closer at something that caught your attention, and using that as a scavenger hunt to negotiate the weird experiment that is your life. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Stop getting in your own way. And the final fifth one, Wolf Hall by Hillary Mandel. So you’ve got to do that one, or you’ve got to do “Living On A Prayer,” or another really good one is “Faithfully.” Any Journey song, basically, is very good. Please don’t make me explain that. All choices. If you’re like, “Uh, it doesn’t matter. But I’m also talking in my writing room. I think we often are in this battle against our multiple voices. It’s just a little tap on the shoulder that’s like, “Hey.”. That is the state that we’re in. My ear needs to hear that I used the word “very” six times on that page. That same feeling you get when you’re standing over a cliff looking into a precipice where you sort of want to jump but you’re terrified. I live in a small town, which has this tiny little bar at the basement of this old hotel, where every Wednesday night is Karaoke Night. Creativity is just about acting in co-creation with something that’s going on anyway. There’s so much energy. You have to constantly be standing in the middle of the tension between those two contradictory ideas. A: Tell us one thing about yourself we can’t find on Wikipedia. You’re not the text board of education putting your magical thinking upon anything that really matters. Passion is a really intimidating concept and really hard to find on a Wednesday morning. Questions of courage, entitlement, and self-confidence. It’s really vital and we don’t do it anymore. No offense, I watch Netflix like every single night. Why this moment? Maybe those two things shouldn’t match up, but they seem to, because the way it works for me is that I draw my inspiration and my excitement about the world through engagement with the world, and I include other human beings as part of the world. Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of seven books, including Eat Pray Love, the novel The Signature of All Things, and most recently, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Then Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic helped me get it back. I would give them all a kidney if I needed to,” and “These are the most ridiculous, obnoxious, horrible people in the world who keep me trapped and are to blame for all my psychoses.” Both of those things are true at the same time, and holding that contradiction between those truths is what allows you to remain at peace in a world where we’re constantly being asked to hold those contradictions. Say it and then be it. We’re all just DNA. Even though I didn’t like the movie “Eat, Pray, Love,” this book met me where I am. I’m showing up with a lot of discipline and rigor to do this work. Autrice di racconti, romanzi e biografie, ha ottenuto negli ultimi cinque anni importanti riconoscimenti per … And then all of a sudden, these people who contributed to Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It were inspired by something that’s coming from without, as well. We can’t all be Steve Perry, but we can try. The book was published in multiple languages including English, consists of 288 pages and is available in Hardcover format. That is how it always is, and that is how it should be, because your creativity and your fear—I always define them as being like conjoined twins. A: Big Magic wasn’t your first trip down audiobook narration lane. No other animal would do that. Let’s start with mornings… you had a wonderful interview in The Cut a while ago about your morning routine. In the meantime, we’re all connected by this interweb, and this network of emotions, and inspiration, and assault, and violence, and hate, and love. It’s all about communicating and engaging. Which is of course an emotion, but a different one from the sort of tearfulness and the vulnerability that I felt when I was reading Eat, Pray, Love. A novel is a very different thing. Why this book? “This” could be a toxic marriage, or “this” could be addiction. Inspiration, for you, is grounded in curiosity and following that curiosity in an authentic and open way. I might die. Can you offer me a more interesting alternative to this thing that I want to do? It allowed women to have a voice in society. “This” could be a terrible, life defeating job. We take something, we look at it, we don’t like the way it is, we change it. And what do I mean by “creative living?” A creative life is any life where you consistently, and habitually, make your decisions based on curiosity rather than fear. Look, we’re all beneficiaries of science, and rationalism, and empiricism. Is this what the audiences are looking for right now?”. There’s a lovely line from Alan Watts that goes: “You are what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is what the whole ocean is doing.” You know? What if it doesn’t have to be the same next year as it was ten years ago? I can totally believe in genies and magic and unseen spirit forces at the same time that I can believe in evolution and global warming and vaccination. After writing about poor Alma Whittaker, who never gets laid, I thought I have to let them have some fun. I just really question that, and want to push back against that in a big way. It’s your piece of the pie. What I saw in reading essay, after essay, after essay, after essay, was that it seemed as though each reader who contributed to this anthology — which is obviously a self-selecting group of people who were moved by the book — found some moment in the book that ignited a comprehension that they’d never really grasped before about their own lives which is, “Your life does not have to keep looking like this.” And whatever “this” is depends on the person and their circumstances. So it’s not enough to just say, “You have it or you don’t have it,” and I also love this idea some people have it, some people don’t. When I’m writing, I have to address every sentence as if the future of nations depends on getting this thing right. Was it an emotional experience for you? I really do feel like it’s not enough to write it down. Some sort of violence against the self. It was a family joke, for a really long time, and I defended my fear for a lot of years. A: You’ve certainly followed your curiosity and caught that tiger by the tail in the process. We know this deeply in our human bones, right? The best new culture, style, and beauty stories from Vogue, delivered to you daily. And I think we’ve all had experiences in our lives where something comes out of our mouth before we had even thought it through. I know that depression is anger turned inwards, and it’s usually anger turned against yourself. That’s another thing that needs to be spoken aloud, before you can move on to the next point. But I’m interested in your fear and anxiety. EG: It should give you more time to be creative. And you come from tens of thousands of years of generations of human beings who are makers. To the point that we will call each other on Monday and start planning what we’d be singing on Wednesday. It’s not enough, and you have to keep some part of your spirit, or your soul, or whatever you want to call it. They’re able to, for instance, look at their families and say, “These people mean everything in the world to me. I don’t think it’s sometimes scary when you look over the precipice into the risk of inspiration and creativity.