"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Magic in the pages of October

I found magic in the pages of October, ideas affecting my life and art...another reading spurt, completing four books in four genres--poetry, fiction, self help and spirituality--though the last two could be combined.
Biggest find and pleasure was "Big Magic," by Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert gained fame for the chick book, "Eat, Pray, Love, "which I haven't read. But the sub title on this new one grabbed me, "Creative Living Beyond Fear."
The book is full of personal anecdotes, and stories about people overcoming and being creative. I bought my copy from Best of Books in Edmond.
For me, the first part of the book and the closing pages are the most powerful. In between there are gems, but it's padded a little with too many stories perhaps, some needless repetition, and some borderline preaching, rather than just advice and truths.
But some of those truths, overcoming fear that defeats creativity:
  • "...I believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure
  • "We all know fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun."  
  • "...if you can't learn to travel comfortably alongside your fear, then you'll never be able to go anywhere interesting or do anything interesting."
The chapter on "Permission" is one of the strongest, and I have more marks here than anyplace else--especially when writing about education  There is poetry here when she writes about her mother (pages 84-85).
Excerpts from near the end:
  • "Creativity wants to flip the mundane world upside down."
  • "We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits"
  • "Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us."
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The other October books that awakened emotions and ideas, for future posts:
  • Friend, poet and force  in a fedora, Dorothy Alexander's  "The Art of Digression, A fragmented Memoir";  
  • Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh's , "Peace is Every Step, the path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life"
  •  English journalist Paula Hawkins' "The Girl on the Train," a psychological thriller, listened to part of it driving across the wide opens during fall break, and finished at home in print.

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