I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. The subtitle to this work by the author of Eat, Pray, Love is Creative Living Beyond Fear.
I really wanted to enjoy the book for several reasons. One, it was recommended by my friend and editor, Michelle Houts, and two, anything that suggests Big Things will happen just by setting aside our reservations has my name all over it.
But, other than an occasional twinge of inspiration, the book fell short. Allow me to explain.
Big Magic, according to Ms. Gilbert, happens when we let go of thoughts of incompetency or lack of confidence and just dig into our creative souls. By doing so, we let the universe in and karma take over.
I get that. I’ve experienced the incredible burst of writing energy where conscious thought goes out the window and the spirit moves me. And, I have to say, it’s pretty darn awesome.
However, there seems to have been too much focus on those fleeting Big happenstances and barely mention of those many smaller moments that make a Big difference in our creative lives.
Let’s call them Little Sparkles.
This year has been filled with them for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I certainly had my share of Big Joyful moments and Big Sad moments in 2017.
The ones that stick with me the most though are those tiny nuggets that really encourage me to move forward on my creative journey.
Like when I met a mom and her daughter at the Cincinnati book festival. The young girl had written a report about Virginia Hamilton this past year. I’ll never forget her shy smile as I personally signed a copy of my biography of this amazing author to her.
Or when I spoke on Virginia, and friends showed up just in support of me.
I swear magic dust lines the paths on the property of the Highlights Foundation. It was there that my picture book biography of a little known, historical sports figure took root and grew. I can still recall sitting across from my mentor, Rich Wallace, the former senior editor of Highlights magazine, as he offered his words of encouragement for my project.
Kirkus reviews are anonymous, so I will never have the chance to thank personally whomever gave my book the coveted starred review. His or her incredible praise of my work lit up my world for weeks.
I saw Little Sparkles in the eyes of one of my little kindergartners I read to weekly when, after asking what I did other than read to him, told him I write children’s books. I feel like his newest heroine.
Little Sparkles happen with every kind word about my writing, every nudge from my husband to revisit stories that sit half-finished on my hard drive, every bit of pride expressed by my two children. And, always, I feel the energy from my late daughter, my little reader gone too soon.
The greatest lessons these Little Sparkles have taught me is that I have the power to reflect all this kindness back to others exploring their creative lives. Just think if we all waved our wands filled with sparkles on to each other, how much brighter the universe would be. That’s where the magic lies.
Here’s hoping your holidays and New Year are filled with tons of Little Sparkles.
I can’t wait to see what you do with all of them. And I can’t wait to see what happens with mine!