Last week I went to see Elizabeth Gilbert talk about her new book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, and met up beforehand with old and new friends from the Free Range Humans movement (i.e. people like me who want to get the hell out of 9-5 work and create a life that works for them).
Unusually for me, although I know I want/need/have to write about it, to get such an incredible experience down on paper and screen before the details escape me, I also don’t know what to write. I don’t know how to encapsulate everything that the evening was to me.
Firstly, I’d forgotten the excitement, constant inspiration and sense of total belonging that I have with these guys. We are the most random group of people ever, from all sorts of backgrounds, all sorts of ages and at all sorts of stages in our journeys. Every single one of them feels like an old and true friend, even though some of them I only met in person for the first time last night (Vaska, Lisa, Issy, Marianne, Jenny, Becs – I’m looking at you!!).
We used to have regularish meetups and then somehow life got in the way and they tailed off – but I am determined to resurrect that regularity, I hadn’t realised how much I missed the boost they give me and the indescribable feeling of my worldview and plans fitting in so perfectly with theirs.
I’m also really hopeful that I’ll click with the Shining Lights girls in the same way, when I eventually get to meet them in person <3
And then after taking over Wagamama’s for a few hours, we wandered up to the Emmanuel Centre and settled to watch and hear Elizabeth Gilbert talk about Big Magic.
The two hours shot past in a blur, I had chills and tears and giggles sometimes all at once. It’s uncanny how much of what she talks about stirs recognition deep within – though she admits there’s no scientific evidence to back it up, every one of us in that room and hundreds of thousands more who have read the book identify on a deep level with what’s in it.
I won’t spoil the book, but I will leave you with my favourite scribbled notes from the four pages I took in my newly-beloved bullet journal:
Having one foot in the real world, and one with the faeries – this is something you sort of must do, to live a full creative life. (Validation, right there!)
On criticism: Does the critic have your best interests at heart? Do they know what you were trying to do? Can they offer criticism in a kind way? If not, fuck them – you don’t have to listen.
“Honesty without kindness is not a virtue.”
“I am willing to take the risk of being insulted, in order to be heard.” – this one really resonated – I am so lucky to be alive in a time where I’m allowed to say and do what I want, that I need to ditch my fear of criticism.
It is far, far better to be alone than with someone who’s not supporting or lifting you, or making your life better, easier or happier. If none of that is happening, what is the point? This was so good to hear, it’s my general philosophy on relationships but always good to know I’m not the only one who thinks this way!
There is a shit sandwich with everything. You have to work out what you love so much, and get so much out of, that you’re willing to eat the shit sandwiches. (I have a love-hate relationship with this analogy, something about it makes me uncomfortable – probably the fact that I don’t want to face the fact that everything I love has a flipside!)
Being creative is like having a border collie – if you don’t keep it occupied it’ll find something destructive to do.
You’re not obliged to use your creativity to save mankind, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing what lights you up.
Don’t be an art martyr, and try or feel you have to do everything by yourself.
The quote that stood out the most, for me?
The ultimate act of creativity is to turn your own life into a work of art.
I am printing this to stick on my desk, my wall, by my bed, in my bathroom. That is what I want from this life, whatever form it takes – mermaiding, photographing, writing, dancing, having blue hair and a unicorn horn… all of the things that make me me.
And Elizabeth’s parting thought was this:
What are you willing to give up or say no to, in order to have the life you say you want?
Big Magic indeed.
With love and unicorns,
PS Have you read Big Magic, or seen Elizabeth Gilbert speak? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
PPS I know the picture isn’t great, but I was too busy listening to take a proper one!
The Old Kingdom. A series I adore, but a series I’ve not revisited in some time. When Hot Key Books got in touch to ask if I’d like to review the prequel to the trilogy, Clariel, and host a giveaway, I jumped at the chance!
Set 600 years before Sabriel, the book follows the story of Clariel as she deals with upheaval, magic and the ultimate consequences of the choices she makes…
It was a revelation to find such a young but tough heroine – and one who systematically rebuffed all romantic advances, even when she was happy to remain friends with them. I think every other fantasy book I’ve read, both YA and adult and those, like the Old Kingdom, which transcend both genres, the protagonist has found themselves in a romantic relationship by the end of the book.
We also get a bit more of Mogget’s backstory, which was particularly nice after having re-read Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen in preparation for Clariel’s arrival through my letter box.
The magic system (a borrowed phrase, but one that describes it well) in the Old Kingdom has always fascinated me – the difference between the Kingdom and Ancelstierre, two worlds and the meeting in the middle, and the Great Charter versus Free Magic – and those, like the Abhorsens, who wield both. I found myself doodling Charter marks on my hand with silver Sharpie while I was reading…
I loved the twist in Clariel’s tale – and the author’s note which, after reading, made me go back and read the whole book over again with the new insight it gave.
If you’re familiar with the Old Kingdom, you’ll love this. If you’re not, but you like adventure, fantasy, triumph against adversity (though not necessarily in the way you expect…), then give it a go – you won’t be disappointed.
The winner of the Super Pops book is Maria Turner 😀
I gave everyone who commented (except me and the lovely Editor of Make & Craft) a number in order of comments…
and then I used random.org to generate the winner….
Which was number 11, Maria!
I shall tweet this shortly, but Maria if you could ping me an email (duckingfabulous at gmail dot com) or tweet/DM me @duckingfabulous – let me know your address and I’ll pop the book in the post for you 🙂
Thank you all for entering, and Make and Craft and Search Press for providing the book 🙂
So I mentioned this briefly in a previous post and promised a more in-depth look at it. It was a complete impulse buy, Lou and I wandered into this bookshop (shamefully I don’t remember what it was called, although I could walk you to it) just before we left Brighton (me to depart for Heather’s wedding, Lou to head home on the train). I wasn’t even looking for a book (inasmuch as I wasn’t looking for a specific book – I’m such an addict that I’m ALWAYS on the hunt for new books to read and to add to my collection).
We gravitated towards the fashion/design/craft section, as we always do, and spotted this.
I ummed and aahhed for about two seconds, then realised I had to have it, it was one of those kind of books. Gorgeously put together, interesting and informative, and actually relevant, I’ve been thinking about expanding both Ducking Fabulous and Checks and Roses to handmade floozy knickers for ages now. I say expand… I need to actually fill the shop up before I can talk about expanding. Anyway.
So inside the book are interviews with lots of contemporary lingerie designers from all over the world. The interviews are interspersed with fabulous photographs, sketchs, inspiration, mood boards and so on which gives what feels like a real insight into the design process. Obviously more detail would be even more fabulous, but a book containing the level of detail I’m after would be about 1000 pages thick!
For obvious reasons (the skates… the SKATES!!), this is my favourite page of the entire book. But here are some more (gorgeous) spreads to give you an idea of what it’s like inside – for more you’ll have to buy the book!
I’ve found it incredibly inspirational from a business point of view as well as a designing-pretty-things-and-knickers point of view. Would love to know if any of you have also read it and what you thought, or if there are any other similar books out there – either around the same subject, or a similar layout and approach but a different subject!
I'm Carla, a quirky thirtysomething with a penchant for unicorns and glitter. I believe in magic and make-believe, and the gorgeous rebellion of making your life absolutely your own. And I'm a proud multipod!
Proud to be both girly and geeky, when I’m not writing, photographing or daydreaming, you can find me dancing burlesque, riding my bicycle Bluebell, growing herbs and collecting typewriters.
Things I want to do in 2020. Partly from my Daydreams To Do list and also from my general goals for the year.
~ Steampunk events
~ experiment with film cameras
~ walk more
~ explore Colchester
~ beach time
~ kitty portraits
~ western riding
~ spa days
~ learn to make bath bombs
~ recreate Lush's Angel's Delight soap fragrance
~ work in sterling silver
~ build a catio
~ handwritten letters
~ photobook of the house project, the cats, Poppy & Dad
~ print my own photos