Today we’re discussing part 2 of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling book, Big Magic: Enchantment
When was the last time you considered a stolen idea “enchantment”? We’ve all been there, whether recently or at some point in our past. Witnessed something we regarded as our own scooped up by another. What was supposed to be our thing, championed by someone else — let’s be clear here though, we’re talking ideas…not copyright infringement. That’s a different story for a different day, folks. In part two of Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert flips the switch on stolen ideas, introducing the reader to a bit of that big, bombastic magic hinted at in the title. A bit of Enchantment.
I’d wager that we’ve all been there. We’ve all had THE MOST INCREDIBLE IDEA that eventually fizzled. Maybe you’ve even felt badly about allowing that thought to slip through your fingers, never to be seen again. I know I certainly have. I’ve had entire life plans sizzle and pop into oblivion like water in a hot pan — plans and ideas I excitedly told friends and family about that eventually evaporated for one reason or another. In Enchantment, Gilbert suggests that maybe, just maybe, we should learn to loosen our grasp on ideas, allow them to come and go, and for god’s sake, stop feeling crappy about the ideas that choose to move on to another, more willing host. The ideas aren’t ours, they’re simply magical, mystical life forms looking for a solid outlet. Someone to take them and make them real. Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s not. Maybe that person who stole your idea actually didn’t…
Personally, I love the concept of ideas floating through space, waiting to find their perfect mate, moving from one being to another. Had this concept been introduced to me as a younger person, I’m sure it would have saved me a great deal of heartache and embarrassment. Think of the weight that could be lifted from our shoulders if we could just get over the thought that we have to accomplish every little thing we think of, be amazing at every little thing we try. Think of what could be discovered.
When do ideas find their way to you? Are you like me, and have to be working on something else to be suddenly sidetracked by a great idea that must be pursued immediately (some may actually call this A.D.D. …I beg to differ). Or are you more methodical? Do ideas hit you in the morning? Or do you burn the midnight oil, awaiting the mouse of inspiration to tip toe quietly into the circle of light?
We must not close ourselves off from inspiration and curiosity. Try and fail. Watch a great idea you had flicker to another being, be glad it came to light one way or another. Move on. Do more. Be dazzled.
Throughout Gilbert’s writing, the joy she exudes for creativity and the nature of work is contagious, something exhibited greatly in this particular chapter. From a young age, we’re taught to hold on to our ideas with white knuckled fists. To not let them out of our sights, lest they be stolen by another. In this, we do ourselves a disservice. In hoarding every idea, we leave less and less room for the one that’s going to make it. We clutter our minds with the pressure of achievement, while frantically attempting to do and be everything. In Enchantment, we learn to loosen that grasp. To be happy when a former idea finds it’s home, and when — whoosh! — inspiration arrives again.
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