Friday Reads: Big Magic

“Anyhow, the older I get, the less impressed I become with originality. These days, I’m far more moved by authenticity. Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me. Just say what you want to say, then, and say it with all your heart.” —- Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic 


I’m slowly making my way through this book because, life. Actually, I prefer reading it in small doses because I like to think about what she’s says, roll it over in my mind, pick it apart and put it back together. I really liked this passage. It rings true in a time where, it seems, everyone wants to be “edgey”. If I had a dollar for every lit journal that states on its submission page to send us “weird, surreal, strange”……well, I move on. Please, please, lit zines, say “send us your authentic voice”!

674E4725-ECF6-43BE-B755-F436F2B1B7ED.jpegHere’s a photo of my cat, Spot. Isn’t she gorgeous? (Except for the drooling but, hey, you’d drool too if you had missing teeth.) Spot says now that Napowrimo is over I must spend more time with her. She needs a good brushing.

Now, where is that brush?

14 thoughts on “Friday Reads: Big Magic

  1. She is a beauty – so is that quilt. 🙂 I have fallen under the spell of prose poems and collage writing. I don’t know how to find it in zines (well, prose poetry is a bit easier than collage) and apparently it’s still “innovative” so does that make it edgy? I’ve been thinking about publishing again (something I swore I’d never bother with again). I guess I need to do some more research. AND I totally agree with you about “authentic voice” because as it turns out, those two genres (which apparently we much have) felt like putting my hands in clay for the first time: like coming home.


    1. Tammy, you should visit Kerfe and Nina’s blog: They do collage and poetry.
      Yesterday I found a zine that seems to post a lot of prose poetry : The link goes to my friend Matt’s recent poem there. It’s how I found the zine.
      I’m just being grumpy but it seems many of the newer zines want to pub the most bizarre material they can get. I don’t always enjoy reading something that makes absolutely no sense, lol. I need to do a poetry and flash post with links soon.

      PS- also check out for art and poetry.


    1. I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like to but it’s my fault. I get distracted or think there’s something else I should be doing or I start online reading which is a huge time suck. I am enjoying the book, I just need to discipline myself!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. She is indeed!
    I have trouble with the word “authentic” too. In a way, everything’s authentic, because it is what it is. Nothing’s original; all labels are confining. Sometimes artifice is appropriate and more revealing than what’s underneath. We’re all acting, changing, different people in different situations. Let’s get rid of the labels (and the judging…I find authentic to be a very judgmental label)
    I like “just send us your best work”. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand where you’re coming from but I think of “authentic” in this situation as being yourself, creating for yourself, without thought of creating for the reader or observer or for commercial success. I think there are artists who create with an agenda in mind and that’s fine, it’s just not what I’m attracted to. It’s a good thing there’s such a variety of art and artists so we can all find what resonates with us. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wasn’t thinking of using the word for just art–it gets thrown around for everything from food to locations–although I don’t see it much differently for artists. Dylan’s best music came from when he had an agenda. Now that he doesn’t, it’s mostly unmemorable to me. Is one more authentic than the other? He’s just a different person in a different time and place. If anything, he has less of a thought for commercial success now.
        I don’t know if I’m being “myself”, I don’t know who that is. I like to make things, and so I do. I would like my work to be acknowledged, as I think anyone does, whether they admit it or not. Just because someone/thing is successful doesn’t mean it’s bad. I did some good designing when I was doing it for a paycheck and to please the customers. Does that make it false, “inauthentic”? maybe, but I don’t think so. Part of learning to design is figuring out how to make the most of the restrictions that have been place upon you. That’s a lesson that carries though to everything I do. If being authentic means always giving it your best effort no matter what situation you find yourself in, I’ll go with that. But I don’t think that’s what people mean when they use the word. They are making a judgment about the person’s motives that is not necessarily true. And do the motives actually matter to how you view the finished product? well, that’s another rabbit hole of thought…


      2. Oh no you weren’t at all! I was thinking of the general use of the word in my world, not you. I’m sorry to have given that impression and I apologize.



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