Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic, Eat Pray Love and much more, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

big-magicThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Elizabeth Gilbert

author of Big Magic, Eat Pray Love and much more…

Ten Terrifying Questions
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1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born and raised in the Berkshires Hills, in Connecticut, on my family’s Christmas tree farm. I grew up around goats and chickens and gardens and woodstoves and an intense, nearly obsessive, ethic of frugality and self-sufficiency. Also: Books. Lots of books. I went to our local public school and then off to college in New York City just as quickly as I could get myself there. I am grateful for my hard-scrabble rural childhood because it taught me how to take care of myself, but I am not a person of the soil. I am a person of the Polis.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Writer, writer, and writer. And also all the years in between. And, one hopes, I will want to be a writer all the years to come. Because I have yet to find anything else I love more than this work. If I ever do, I will change callings. Till then, I’ll stick with this one.

Elizabeth Gilbert high res 20143. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That the rules of life do not apply to me. I tested every single one rule. Turns out, they all apply. It would have been a lot easier and less painful to have learned the rules of cause and effect without having to try them all out, but apparently I’m a real empiricist.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

a) Watching my father quit his day job in order to become a full-time farmer, and realising that — yes indeed — one can shape one’s own destiny.

b) Going off to live in New York City — otherwise known as The Field of Dreams — in order to cross-pollinate myself with the ideas of a bunch of other restless dreamers.

c) Getting divorced. Failing horribly at something terribly important. Having to process the shame and loss of it. Thus: Eat Pray Love

5. 1.             Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

Not obsolete yet, it appears.

big-magic6. Please tell us about your latest book…

Big Magic is a manifesto on creativity. It’s about liberating yourself from the tired-old artistic stereotypes of suffering, torment, perfectionism, anxiety and specialness in order to simply make things that ignite your soul to life. I’ve been wanting to write this book for over a dozen years, and only recently did I finally feel that I had the chops and the authority to sit down and say, “Listen, people. I’ve learned some stuff over the decades I’ve spent engaging with creativity in a positive and generative manner. Try doing your work THIS way.”

Grab a copy of Big Magic here

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

I would like my work to give people permission to live bigger lives.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Sister Mary Scullion — a radical activist nun who lives and works in nearby Philadelphia, and who has single-handedly taken it upon herself to solve the problem of homelessness and addiction on the streets of her city. She’s a giant-hearted, funny, tireless, generous, ferocious powerhouse of a woman, and I love her.

9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

A very simple goal: I would like to acquire enough wisdom and grace to always know exactly the right way to behave in every different situation in life — no matter how difficult — such that I never cause any trouble or suffering for myself or for another human being as long as I live. Ever. I’m out of my mind, I know. But that is truly what I long for.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don’t negotiate with the terrorists who live inside your head. Don’t believe a single negative thing that your mind ever tells you about yourself.

Your darkest voices have no idea what they’re talking about. Your inner critics are more deadly and more toxic than any external enemy will ever be.

Your inner critics will always ask of you, “What right do you have to be a creator? Who the hell do you think you are?” Stand up tall and tell your inner critics who the hell you think you are.

Tell them that you are a constituent of creation, and that therefore you have the right to participate in the ongoing story of creation. Tell them that you are a human being, and that human beings are a creative species by design, and that you are laying claim to your human inheritance by participating in the ancient practice of making stuff out of nothing, for no particular reason. Tell them that your work doesn’t have to be magnificent or world-changing; it just has to be DONE. Tell them that by creating anything — merely by remaining vital and productive— you have won as a human being.

Tell them that you have a spark of divinity within you that you will not allow to be extinguished and that you are a champion of inquisitiveness, and that your inventive spirit will not be daunted.

Then give your inner critics the finger, and keep writing.

Eye of the tiger, baby. Eye of the tiger.

Elizabeth, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Big Magic here


big-magicBig Magic

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert.

Now, this beloved author digs deep into her own life to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity.

With profound empathy and generosity, she ponders the mysterious nature of inspiration, asking us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear.

Whether we are looking to create art, address challenges in our work, give ourselves permission to embark on a dream long deferred, or simply to infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Grab a copy of Big Magic here

Sneak Peek at Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Big Magic

“Creativity is a crushing chore and a glorious mystery, The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.”

Elizabeth Gilbert - Big MagicFrom one of the most iconic writers of our age, and the source of inspiration to millions of readers worldwide on living a bold and authentic life, comes a new book on creativity: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, to be published in September 2015.

Named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of the memoir Eat Pray Love, which has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, been translated into 46 languages, and been adapted into a major feature film. Her story continues to be an inspiration to readers everywhere: her TED talk has over 8 million views, which ranks among the top 20 most viewed talks of all time.

image002Whether touring the world, fielding thousands of letters and questions or talking to her readers on social media, Gilbert has witnessed how universal the struggle is for individuals to feel authentic and inspired; how challenging it is to find the courage and strength to lead a creative life; and how stuck so many people feel in their jobs, relationships, and above all, within themselves. In Big Magic, Gilbert digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective.

With profound empathy and generosity, she offers powerful insights into the mysterious nature of creativity.  She invites readers to embrace curiosity and to let go of needless suffering. Balancing spirituality and pragmatism, she discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits that allow the most creative life possible. Exuding all the humour, big-heartedness, vulnerability and wisdom that have won Gilbert her multitudes of devoted fans, she delivers a vibrant message on how anyone can find – and make – Big Magic.

Click here for more details about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic

Click here for more details about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert – Facebook Competition Winners Announced

Last week we ran a competition on our Facebook page to win one of five copies of Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book The Signature of All Things, one of the biggest releases of 2013.

Thanks to everyone who entered (all you needed to do is LIKE and SHARE our Facebook post), and the winners are:

Cassie Lofthouse, Terry Schroeder, Maggie L’Estrange, Vicki Willenberg, Katherine Stepanic.

Please email us at promos@booktopia.com.au with your details to get your copies ASAP!

If your name isn’t there, don’t despair. The book is out now!

Don’t forget to check out our review here.

Click here to buy The Signature of All Things from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

The Signature of All Things

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Alma Whittaker is born into a perfect Philadelphia winter. Her father, Henry Whittaker, is a bold and charismatic botanical explorer whose vast fortune belies his lowly beginnings as a vagrant in Sir Joseph Banks’ Kew Gardens and as a deck hand on Captain Cook’s HMS Resolution. Alma’s mother, a strict woman from an esteemed Dutch family, is conversant in five living languages (and two dead ones).

An independent girl with a thirst for knowledge, it is not long before Alma comes into her own within the world of botany. But as Alma’s careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she comes to love draws her in the opposite direction.

The Signature of All Things is a big novel, about a big century. It soars across the globe from London, to Peru, to Philadelphia, to Tahiti, to Amsterdam. Peopled with extraordinary characters – missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses and the quite mad – most of all it has an unforgettable heroine in Alma Whittaker, a woman of the Enlightened Age who stands defiantly on the cusp of the modern.

Click here to buy The Signature of All Things from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

REVIEW: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (Review by Terry Purcell)

Click here to order The Signature of all Things.When I was handed The Signature of All Things I noted the name of the author and popped it on the pile of books marked, not urgent. Yep, I let my prejudice against the author of Eat, Pray, Love influence my decision even though it was obvious this new novel was a departure from the squillion copy selling EPL. Then, one night I overheard a couple of booksellers talking. One had taken the plunge and had read The Signature of All Things. This was a bookseller whose opinion deserved respect and she had loved it. Loved it.

The next day I picked up The Signature of All Things. It was immediately obvious to me that this was a work of historical fiction of the highest order but it was a big book and with so many other books on my pile already, I gave it to my dad. Here is his review:

Continue reading

Blossom, author of Eat, Spray, Love, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Blossom

author of Eat, Spray, Love

Ten Terrifying Questions

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1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born and raised in Sydney, I am an autodidact. In fact most of what I know I figured out for myself. I find that if you observe life and its inhabitants closely, you can learn a lot about the world, even if your world is a small one.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

I’m now two and a bit so I can’t say, although at this point in my life I am exactly what I want to be: a perfectly satisfied house cat who has achieved enlightenment within the safe haven of my own apartment.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

Well, at eighteen weeks I thought the secrets of the universe were only to be discovered in exotic climates and on foreign shores, and now I know we hold the great secrets within us.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

One was my first trip to the vet (was the thermometer up the bum really necessary?) and a close encounter with a shitzu (accent on the ‘shit’) which made me realise life on the outside isn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Second was coming across Blake’s poem, Auguries of Innocence—the one that begins with the lines, ‘To see a world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a wildflower’. He inspired me to embrace life’s simple pleasures and understand the large through the small.

Third was seeing my flatmate get a book published. I mean if she could do it, I certainly could. And I was right.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?

I’m an old fashioned feline and I actually like the smell of paper and the feel of Continue reading

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert (Now a movie starring Julia Roberts)

Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, EAT, PRAY, LOVE, a global bestseller, that has sold over 8 million worldwide, is now a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts.

It’s 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby – and she doesn’t want any of it.

A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance.

So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile.

And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her.

Click here for more details or to buy EAT, PRAY, LOVE‘It’s what I’m giving all my girl friends.’ – Julia Roberts

‘Every woman should read it.’ – Elle Macpherson

‘I adore it.’ – Sophie Dahl

‘I loved it … I could understand her wanting to write the book and her desire to heal.’ – Meg Ryan

About Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of a short story collection, Pilgrims (a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway Award), a novel, Stern Men and a book of non fiction, The Last American Man (nominated for the National Book Award and a New York Times Notable Book for 2002). Her most recent book is Committed, the sequel to Eat, Pray, Love. She is a writer-at-large for American GQ where she has received two National Magazine Award nominations for feature writing. Elizabeth Gilbert lives in New Jersey.

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