Call it inspiration, the muse, energy, a whoosh through your soul, or simply creativity. We all have it – to some degree – or at least have heard of it. Right now I’m listening to an audio novel by Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic. To say the least it’s liberating. I could extol the wonders of this work for a day. But I won’t. What I will say is that she, or rather this work, is in my head and my soul. And it’s been there for as long as I can remember.
Elizabeth Gilbert just says it much more eloquently that I ever could have. I’m glad she wrote it. I’m also glad she wrote Eat, Pray, Love. But I digress.
So far I’ve listened to four out of five discs. I do have chores and other life necessities to attend to, so I have to indulge in pleasures such as this in my spare time. Yeah, how many of you cringed at that last phrase. But I can savor her words and those of my own while I’m doing other things. And I can write my feelings (book report, book response, whatever you wish to call it) either in my head, or on one of my many spiral notebooks, or I can grab my trusty laptop and let my own words flow.
Big Magic is not new, not unique, and certainly not a mystery to either artists or free spirits of any sort – if you can differentiate between these. It has been used and explored by science and psychics for centuries. If you’ve ever heard of Edgar Cayce, you’ve heard of this thing. I’m sure it goes back much further in history. It’s universal, and it’s personal. As I listen to Ms. Gilbert’s velvety voice, I hear my own live and experiences; from the little story that got away to her Elk Talk story. Yeah, I once called in a moose. And when I finally figured out that his only intention was to stomp a mud hole in my head, I decided to quit calling and start backing up. I recounted the story a thousand times or so, but never thought to write it down or send the story to a magazine. I guess that was for a different author.
Sometimes you have to walk away from the project that drives you, from the passion that makes your blood flow and gives you reason to wake up in the morning. I’ve had to walk away from writing a couple of times – different story – and I’ve had to walk away from the one thing other than my children that ever gave meaning to my life, horses. But I got them back. The passion never diminished. The muse, inspiration, magic never left me. Thank you.
Did I mention that I once named a horse for that very energy? Jacks Magic Traveler. Very well bred Quarter Horse colt. Jack came from his sire, the rest was all me. That was in 1985.
I had to leave behind my horses when I left my husband, and I put away my writing because of that husband. The stress was going to be the end of me. I had a story to tell, but the hubs when into a rant any time I sat to write. Sadly I listened. I had a passion to train horses – and I was good at it, but the only thing I heard from the one who should have supported me was, “You can’t do that.” It took a while, but eventually I believed him.
Imagine my surprise (actually I was not surprised at all, just a little disappointed) when I saw my column complete with the stories I’d already outlined, written in the magazine which had offered the position to me. The story needed to be told, so the muse found someone not tied down my life.
I never felt bitter. I moved on – without my typewriter. Or my horses.
Twenty-eight years later, I have them back.
It’s never – ever – too late. Right now I’m thinking of picking up a manuscript that my father wrote decades ago. Not long before he died. It’s never too late.
The one thing I keep thinking about as I listen to Elizabeth Gilbert try to explain her concept of ‘Big Magic’ is what I read on a biker’s t-shirt, that’s a Harley Davidson rider by the way: ‘If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand’
I’ve also seen it on horsemen’s t-shirts, on inspirational posters at the gym, and as a tagline for a drawing of a joyous mom in a messy house.
If I have to explain it, you probably won’t get it.
I’m so very glad the muse, energy, magic finally found someone capable of reminding us of this.
If you have a mind, check out Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Now, back to vacuuming the floor….