Why this book? A: Let’s jump to Eat, Pray, Love just for a little bit. It feels like a sort of haunting or an imbibing from some spirit from another world. If you’re going to sing karaoke, you’ve got to sing an anthem. It’s beautiful, and I’m super honored to have been a part of it. That’s what a curiosity-driven life is, and to say, “Even though this clue doesn’t add up to anything I’ve ever experienced before, and it doesn’t make sense, and it may never turn into anything, and almost doesn’t even have a pulse—in the face of all that, I’m going to follow this clue, and the next, and the next, and the next. Look, if there’s any place in the world where you want to have magical thinking, it might as well be in creativity, because the stakes are so low it doesn’t really matter. We can’t all be Steve Perry, but we can try. I said in the book, I spent a lot of my life trying to convince my parents that I was absolutely helpless. For me, the most interesting part of that entire engagement is not necessarily the thing that you end up making. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the PEN/Hemingway Award. It doesn’t happen to apply to my life. The mistakes in tone, and pacing and, “God, this sentence would be better,” or “This is a long and awkward statement. People who are just being told that they’re here to produce and consume and be a cog in the machine. I’ve met fearless people. EG: Originally, I had called it “Big Magic: Creative Living Without Fear,” but that’s not at all what I’m getting at in the book. To inspire, is exactly what it feels like because anybody who’s ever had an idea, regardless of what that idea is — whether it’s an artistic idea, or a spiritual or emotional idea, or a political idea, or some sort of adventure that someone wants to take—it does feel like something has come into you from outside of you. 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. You can even just call it your mind, open to the fact that there is a great deal going on here that is very weird, and the creative part of your mind must be preserved from a life of pure rational thought or it will never be able to make anything interesting at all. Also by Elizabeth Gilbert Pilgrims Stern Men The Last American Man Eat Pray Love Committed: A Love Story At Home on the Range, by Margaret Yardley Potter ... Gilbert, Elizabeth, date. It’s fantastic. We all do that stuff. Your grandparents and mine, were people who made things with their hands. A: In your book, you talk about how it’s almost like inviting fear to ride shotgun. 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. We’re antennas. We have to do this differently.”. 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. 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. For example, I was fascinated to find out that The Signature of All Things grew out of your interest in gardening.I think one of the easiest things in the world to do is to engage and follow in your curiosity, because the stakes are so low. 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.”. Committed to tackling fear and self-doubt, she helps others do the same through workshops, Ted Talks and more. It doesn’t get to hold the map. I absolutely believe in talent and I think it’s naïve not to say that that’s a thing. I’m totally capable of holding two completely contradictory ideas at the same time. My friend, the great performance artist Sarah Jones, has a wonderful way of saying this. I recently discovered karaoke. 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. What will people think of this? So it’s like, “Love it, release it. And I was guilty of that, too. 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. But “beyond fear” includes fear. This is how all of humans for all time have discussed the sensation of inspiration. Why do I feel like this? We hadn’t been before. That we can’t just find it in ourselves? 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. What is it about saying something out loud that makes it different? I might die. Do you want to do this? https://www.lafeltrinelli.it/libri/elizabeth-gilbert/big-magic/9788817083843 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 years with her wit and candor, many of whom approached her with their own creative frustrations. 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. EG: I always say, “If you’re alive, then you’re a creative person.” I know there are people who will buck against that. It’s going to be there, but it doesn’t get to drive. It does very interesting work on you while you’re making that work. It does feel like you’re being inhabited by some idea, and in fact, I would say that you are, and what that idea is doing as it’s sending you all these signals and clues is that it’s asking you a question and the question that it’s asking you is, “Do you want to do this with me? She’s a good draw-er and he can sing.”. The obsession. What if you can say, ‘I made a grave error here, because a younger version of myself, who didn’t know what was coming, made this choice,’ and now the older version of herself or himself, who’s standing in this position, can see this is not working?”. What that has to do with your life, I don’t even know why that’s even something that’s keeping you up at night. EG: I don’t know anyone who’s ever lived their whole life autonomously. I love this idea, thinking of talent as something where it’s part of your consciousness that’s weighted? When you’ve accepted, “Well, that’s just how it is and it’s how it’s always going to be, I made my bed and now I’ve got to sleep in it,” or, “I’m the one who went to college and studied this career and now I’m in this job.” A trailing off of your life where you’re like, “Well, I guess …” You know that helpless tone that people fall into. Self-hatred. These are the people I come from. To be brave means that you keep going anyway. So of course, when I gave my TED talk, I spoke that way. A: What are your five favorite books of all time? But we have to pull ourselves through that, because they do matter. A: Some authors describe how when they read their work out loud, or perform what they’ve written, it can be very emotional. I mean, unless you belong to a church and you’re in the choir, which is something that people have in their lives less and less, you don’t have a venue for raising public voices in the world. A bunch of 19th-century books and one 16th-century book. Please don’t talk about it now while I’m trying to do this, because right now I have to do this thing.”. The rule of karaoke is the same as the rule of life, which is: “The only way to embarrass yourself is to not throw yourself into it one hundred percent.” That’s it. There will be moments in your life again, where you’re totally helpless and other people will have to take care of you. Because something will happen to you in the making of that that will be very worth doing. Regardless of whether what they make is good, or, viable. It’s just a thing that I made. He said, “Do you have the courage to bring forth the work that you’ve got within you.” He said, “The treasure that is buried within you is hoping you’ll say yes.”, That is the most interesting thing. You also narrated Eat, Pray, Love. The weight seems to be in science. Passion can also burn hot and it can burn out. The waking up at four o’clock in the morning and you’re still thinking about this thing and you can’t shake it.