Big Magic – In a Light Package

The first time I picked up this book, I’ll admit I scanned it, and then put it back. I had it out from the library, and when there was someone next in line, I let it go back.

It seemed light, and I have read so much on creativity I thought it wasn’t very relevant.


Then I listened to Brene Brown (Rising Strong) talk on Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, and their synergy was so great. I immediately got Rising Strong to read, and also recommitted to trying Big Magic.

And they made great companion reads. While Rising Strong gets into the nitty-gritty of recreating your patterns of failure, Big Magic talks philosophy about creativity. And while it IS a light read, it tends to very lightly draw out some of the darkest myths of creative work.

And then illuminates them with more balanced, truthful ways to think.

This book is one that’s going on my very short list of books to actively push on people. (Like Rising Strong!) Because it’s light enough to breeze through–while also collecting so much of what we need to hear about retraining our beliefs on creativity.

How did I not realize this book was my jam?


I will be giving away an e-book of either Big Magic or Rising Strong to one of the attendees of my webinar on Thursday!

Unlock Your Agency: Three Tools to Become the Hero of Your Life

September 30th, Friday, 7pm Central on ZOOM

Serial Moving: a Writer Trait?

I accidentally bought the recording of The Thalia Bookclub on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, instead of the audiobook, many moons ago. After disparaging my intelligence, I then figured out how to actually get the book.

It’s actually mainly an interview of the author Susanna Clarke with Neil Gaiman, so the other day I turned it on to listen to as I went on my morning walk. (Turns out it’s great and my money was not wholly wasted!)

Something that struck me in her bio is that she’s another writer who grew up moving around. In her case, as the child of a Methodist minister. But be it as an Army Brat, pastor’s kid, or just a dad moving ahead of “restructuring” in his company (me), a lot of writers seem to have grown up on the fringes.

Maybe not even because of moves. Books are a shelter because they take you into their world unstintingly.

I played Little League baseball and soccer in one house, became a Scottish Highland dancer after a move, then moved somewhere there were no teachers. Went to Japan and joined the softball club, came back to the US and eventually took up yoga. I couldn’t find my identity in these location-based pastimes.

But my journals and books? They moved with me.

I think that’s why I loved fantasy and eventually realized it’s what I wrote. People were in motion, and their lives were changing. That life I understood.

I read Robin McKinley’s bio of books she read where, and saw myself, currently working through the Silmarillion in Japan.

My two favorite releases from this year (so far–I’m not ahead on my reading) are two books that involve girls on the move:

Rebel of the Sands and Girl from Everywhere


Both different in tone and subgenre, I loved them not only for reflecting a reality I knew. Their writers clearly knew what it was to be the girl on the fringes, too.

Maybe someday our peregrinations will cross.

Do you share traits with people you admire, who do the work you want to do? Make this your journalling prompt for the day!

And then sign up for MoJo, with daily journalling prompts like this to help you look into your creative process and history, before registration closes on Friday.


I’m reading Felicia’s memoir

It’s called “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” and it is great (with a weird dash of life coaching!)

But the first third was kinda brain-twisty, like reading an alternate history of me.

I have had suspicions before that Felicia Day was my generation-up doppelganger. (Generation separated means we’re different enough we don’t have to kill each other. PHEW. That would be ugly.)

But anyway, reading her memoir (I’m on page 43 as of typing this) is kind of awesome in an alternate history sort of way.

For one thing, our worlds as homeschoolers were actually quite different…but our experiences of it are pretty similar. My mom loved to take us to museums, not so much making us sit at desks. But that’s not the kind of weirdness that has me convinced we are alternate dimensions of each other. That gets way more specific. Example:

At dance class (meant to fill a socializing vacuum) Felicia was creating horoscopes for her classmates, only to get shut down by a mom who didn’t like that kind of stuff. On her teacher telling her this:

“Nothing I said could persuade [Miss Mary]. She was a Taurus. Once her mind was made up, it was over.”

When I was 11, I started Scottish Highland dance with some twin kindergarteners. Their mom asked me my birthday, which was weird enough. “Ah, a Taurus,” she announced, as though this information was what I had definitely wanted.

I knew only enough about horoscopes to try to forget I knew what I was, because that stuff is occult.

Maybe this is all in my mind, but that’s where I live, so…

I love the little excerpts from her childhood diaries, in edited snap-shots. They sound so much like mine–wicked precocious vocab (I knew the word precocious though I still cannot spell it), totally snotty intellectual high horse.

It’s giving me ideas about just how it could work to write my own. Which I’ve thought about, and started more than once.

Don’t worry, Felicia. I’m not famous enough to get on my own cover.