Happy New Year, friends! I’m normally pretty careless when it comes to recognizing and observing milestones, making new year’s resolutions, and reflecting on work patterns. But recently, I’ve been persuaded to take a more thoughtful approach to this part of my life.
It started with Stephanie Burgis’s blog post about her 2015 Done List (which is stupendously long and WILL NOT become a yardstick with which to flog myself, but rather something to which I aspire). I sat down and wrote my own Done List (personal and professional) and immediately felt much better about the year that just slipped away. Then I wrote a list of goals for 2016 (divided, again, into work and life categories) and committed to them by writing them into my new bullet journal. It’s a little nerve-wracking, but more than that, it’s exciting. It’s a series of promises made to myself, and I intend to deliver.
To accompany all this The Year is Dead/Long Live the Year business, I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and wanted to tell you how terrific it is.
Firstly, Gilbert is a WAREHOUSE of mind-blowing real-life stories. I adore the one about Ann Patchett. And about her first published short story. And, really, nearly every story in between.
Secondly, this is not the kind of book I’m typically attracted to. I’m wary of (non-fiction) books that promise magic. I cringed at the hoopla surrounding Eat, Pray, Love. I don’t even like Big Magic‘s splotchy, rainbowy cover.
And yet I love this book with all my heart and desperately wish that my fearful, anxious, self-loathing younger self could have read it, too. In fact, it’s one of the books I specifically want to have hanging around the house for my own children to find when they get a bit older.
I didn’t always adore Gilbert’s voice in this book: it was a bit too chummy, too as-if-she-were-curled-up-on-the-sofa-beside-me-with-a-mug-of-herbal-tea cozy. Even so, I cheered at absolutely everything she had to say about living a creative life. Her observations are clear-eyed and warm and empowering and honest, and they amount to an irresistible conclusion: Live Creatively. (Or, don’t. But know what you’re giving up, when saying no.)
It’s a book I’ll revisit from time to time, and I’m so glad I picked it up. And at this point, I’m not sure why I did. Someone whose taste I trust (Steph again?) must have mentioned it, but I can remember neither the source nor the medium. As Gilbert might say, that itself is a tiny dose of magic.
What the hell: BIG MAGIC.