I have so many good things to say about this book that I don't even know where to start!
I enjoyed Gilbert's conversational tone. I felt like I was sitI have so many good things to say about this book that I don't even know where to start!
I enjoyed Gilbert's conversational tone. I felt like I was sitting down with a friend who had some solid life advice to share. And I was hanging on her every word. I also liked the short, powerful chapters. She gets right to the punch, every time.
One of the key ideas is that we are ALL creative: "If you're alive, you're a creative person. You and I and everyone you know are descended from tens of thousands of years of makers. Decorators, tinkerers, storytellers, dancers, explorers, fiddlers, drummers, builders, growers, problem-solvers, and embellishers - these are our common ancestors." The arts do NOT belong "only to a chosen few." She makes the book so accessible for everyone. And what I really loved is that even if you wouldn't necessarily classify yourself as creative or even if you haven't found your particular creative form of expression yet, there's still plenty in this book for you. It will motivate you to get out there and get in touch with those descendants! To find the part of yourself that is open to and able to create good old fashion PLAY. Such a critical thing that we all need time for in our lives. This book is as much about creativity as it is about outlook, openness, honesty ("to thine own self be true"), and perseverance.
I also adored the section where Gilbert shares her mother's old advice: "Done is better than good." It was essentially the same advice I received my advisor in grad school: Writing/editing is NEVER finished; you just have to get to a good enough place where you're ready to let it go. One thing that worked so nicely for me as a reader is that although Gilbert is speaking to all creative types, her examples are, of course, so often about writing, which happens to be my creative endeavor. Anyway, in speaking of her mother's advice, she reminds us: "There are only so many hours in a day, after all. There are only so many days in a year, only so many years in a life. You do what you can do, as competently as possible within a reasonable time frame, and then you let it go."
And alongside these notions of play and letting go, Giblert addresses the so oft accepted image of the starving artist, making it clear that our art does NOT have to come from pain. To boil it all down to the simplest terms, she concludes: "Love over suffering, always."
One of the final chapters is a great little one called "The Martyr vs. the Trickster." Since the trickster comes to us from mythology, I was immediately excited about where she was going with this. And what she hit on was something that, again, is so important not just to creative living but to healthy living: we need to come at things with the perspective of play - in every sense of the word. Yes, take your art seriously. But also? Don't! And find a way to live with that paradox. Which is brilliant, because guess what? Life is full of paradoxes.
As she continues her discussion on our friend the Trickster over several chapters, Gilbert introduces us to fellow writer Brené Brown, explaining how Brown was able to invite the Trickster into her creative life. There were two quotes from Brown that were so telling and moving to me. 1) "academia...is deeply entrenched in martyrdom." Wow. Yes, yes, it is. The starving artist image chased us right into the universities and the ladder climbing can often hammer out the play, especially on the tenure track. I love education, but the system is broken. I want to "play" more with this idea as I continue to reflect on my role as a college instructor and academic. 2) In discussing the difficulties Brown had in writing one of her books, she expressed: "never again will I write about the subject of the human connection while suffering in isolation." Another loaded idea, and one that greatly reflected where I have been. This was something that impacted me heavily in graduate school. When I got to a point where I felt I was spending more time with books and computer screens, so often writing (ironically) about the human condition, I started to get crushed by the very thing I loved. And I'm imagining this is a difficulty that many artists - particularly those whose form is writing - have struggled with. More food for thought I will be coming back to! And I will probably be picking up Brown's book, Rising Strong
As Gilbert moves to her close, she shares a story (that I will oh-so-briefly summarize) about some dancers keeping their sacred dance in the temples until the creative dances they conceived moved into the sacred space, and then some changes were made that pleased everyone involved from tourists to monks.....and Gilbert concludes the anecdote by reflecting: "Everything was in its place - tidy and final. Except that it was neither tidy nor final. Because nothing is ever really tidy or final." As a recovering perfectionist struggling to refocus on mindfulness, I found that this statement perhaps stayed with me the most. Nothing is ever tidy. Or final. And it doesn't need to be. That's not the goal. My Type A personality can simmer down. The joy is in the process. In the creation. In the life lived. And this, of course, is not a new concept. And we've probably all heard it before in different places and in different ways. But the way Gilbert is able to deliver it, as a fellow artist-in-arms, is striking and well-earned. It resonates. It reverberates. And it motivates. ...more
I've been a Barrymore fan for as far back as I can remember. I grew up with ET. I fell in love alongside her in her rom-coms. And, more than anything,I've been a Barrymore fan for as far back as I can remember. I grew up with ET. I fell in love alongside her in her rom-coms. And, more than anything, I've always been drawn to her spirit, her honesty, and her outlook on life. I've enjoyed interviews she's done over the years, I bought her photography book last year, and I pre-ordered the audio version of Wildflower as soon as I found out about it. And I was not disappointed. This is the third autobiography I've read this year. This is a genre I have really come to enjoy. For me, it's not about peering into celebs lives. What I love is just hearing real people's real stories. And Drew definitely has interesting stories! Unlike your standard chronological autobio that builds a steady timeline of one's life, Drew's is a collection of individual experiences that stand out and matter to her. There's no order. You kind of bounce around from her childhood to her life as a parent and everything in between. Together it forms a cohesive understanding though of who she is, what she's been through, and how she has stayed strong, independent, and positive. As a parent, I was most drawn to everything Drew says about family. The way she was raised was, of course, far from perfect. Her ability to take that and make it something so positive so that everything would be different for her girls is incredible and inspirational. She has two chapters that are dedicated, respectively, to each of her daughters. They brought tears to my eyes as I related and as I imagined what the things I want to write to my own daughter. I think Drew is a rare soul in this world, and I'm delighted that she wrote this book and invited us all in to see a little more of her.
Here's one excerpt that really stood out to me as she discussed getting involved with Ever After: "[Cinderella] said that she rescued herself, instead of what we have been taught for years… I fell in love with that story. RESCUE YOURSELF. It empowered me more than anything I had ever known. To realize that we can be conditioned to believe that things are one way and then later understand that they can be different… I wanted to rescue myself, and I did. I wanted to become a lady, and, although it took years, I feel like it did. And I now know how to teach and instill the pillars of wholesomeness. And that it doesn’t have to be boring. You can be a warrior and full of grace and class. But being free is about freeing yourself."...more
Loved every word of this. As a Felicia Day fan, it's great. As a geek, it's great. As someone who has also struggled with anxiety (though not as intenLoved every word of this. As a Felicia Day fan, it's great. As a geek, it's great. As someone who has also struggled with anxiety (though not as intensely as Felicia), I appreciate her take and insight into anxiety and depression. She is so honest, open, down-to-earth, fun, awkward, self-aware, genuine, and talented. And it all comes through in her book. Also, her life has been lived quite off the beaten path, so she truly has an interesting and surprising story. I got the audio version of this book, so I basically feel like I hung out with Felicia Day in my car for a few weeks everywhere I drove around. And now I will miss her. ;) The last auto-bio I read/listened to was NPH's "Choose Your Own Autobiography," which was just as genuine and fun. After these two books, I've realized how much I love the autobiography genre! Not in a I-want-to-know-every-secret-about-celebrities way but in a I-love-real-stories sense. I really enjoy hearing about other's experiences and how they reflect on the little and big moments of their lives. ...more
The hubs and I started reading this last year, before I was even pregnant. It's led to so many enjoyable conversations over the months!! The questionsThe hubs and I started reading this last year, before I was even pregnant. It's led to so many enjoyable conversations over the months!! The questions aren't perfect. Some didn't apply to us. Some seemed redundant. But we both really enjoyed all the different discussions they led to! Really fun to have before baby arrives....more
Some chapters were silly, but that's alright. I listened to the audio book, which, in this case, I think was better than reading than book. It was likSome chapters were silly, but that's alright. I listened to the audio book, which, in this case, I think was better than reading than book. It was like hanging out with Ellen for a few hours! Good entertainment while walking the dogs, though not quite as good as I thought it'd be. ...more
This book is OUTSTANDING for anyone interested in accomplishing anything!! Every single page in this book is an absolute gem. Steven Pressfield offersThis book is OUTSTANDING for anyone interested in accomplishing anything!! Every single page in this book is an absolute gem. Steven Pressfield offers a no-non-sense approach to really achieving your ultimate goals, whatever they may be. The book is geared towards writers, but it applies to everyone: athletes, students, parents, artists. Everyone. He compares artists to warriors and shows us how to win our personal battles. We are all creators, and he shows us how to overcome resistance, tune into our higher self, become, and create. I imagine this book will speak to everyone on a deep level. I was especially delighted by this book as Pressfield discusses writing (something I've been neglecting to do recently for my own book!) and two other key elements to my personal studies: myth and depth psychology! This book is a MUST read for all my peers at Pacifica! You'll find references to The Bhagavad Gita (which inspired Pressfield's book The Legend of Bagger Vance), Jung, the ego and the self, Campbell's hero journey, The Greeks, The Muses, Aristotle's Poetics. This book has it all. I just finished reading it, and I'm already ready to reread it! So rich!! ...more
Another text our instructor gave us just a small excerpt of. Love what I read of it!! If it wasn't near 500 pages, I'd take some time to read it now.Another text our instructor gave us just a small excerpt of. Love what I read of it!! If it wasn't near 500 pages, I'd take some time to read it now. Doesn't look like there's anything the author won't touch on. It was also recommended to the class that we try to imitate the great writing style here, working to develop our own more deeply....more
This book is so engaging, wonderful, positive, real, and touching. Michael J. Fox splits this book into four sections on the four pillars of his life:This book is so engaging, wonderful, positive, real, and touching. Michael J. Fox splits this book into four sections on the four pillars of his life: career, politics, faith & family. Of course, each section also includes his reflection on life with Parkinson's disease, his path in forming his foundation and the struggles he's faced in pushing the research forward. What he has faced is indescribable, but his tenacity, energy, gratitude, and positivity is awe inspiring. I simply cannot say enough positive things about this book. His attitude is real; he is down to earth and sincere with his readers. Sometimes you're laughing, sometimes you're tearing up. He is a genuine and wonderful human. I think every reader will walk away from reading this with a few good lessons on life and attitude. On another note, it secretly cracks me up that he was my first childhood crush; I still remember the Michael P. Keaton poster I so greatly treasured. ...more
Loads o' fun! Some of the questions are silly and entertaining (like what profession would your dog have and what would be his favorite tv show) whileLoads o' fun! Some of the questions are silly and entertaining (like what profession would your dog have and what would be his favorite tv show) while other questions have activities for you to do with your dog! We had fun playing with Libby and testing her IQ! She ranked Loyal Companion, just under Pure Genius. Good fun for all dog lovers!!...more