November: Books Before Thirty

So I actually decided to rekindle my love for reading. And by reading, I meant read books and not just some crappy online articles and long rants on Facebook. This is my attempt to practice my language and improve my writing. No complaints at all because I’ve always liked reading books. But now that I am older, I am trying to balance my love for non-fiction with fiction. Current favorite genres/topics are self-help, memoirs, finding your voice and purpose, and women empowerment. But my favorites are always changing so let’s see how would I progress in this category.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert has been a favorite since Eat, Pray, Love. And not just because it was a big hit but because I always like stories about finding yourself and resilience, and it might be because I am so lost at the moment. HAHA. I follow her Instagram, I watch her IG live, I like her IG posts – I am not just a fan but a follower. And since I am into writing and creative creation and improving my craft and all that, I’ve been in constant search for anything that would help me achieve my goals.

And Big Magic is a huge name in this game. I’ve seen millions of people recommend this book if you want to explore your creative side. 

In her website, it says: In 2015, she published BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR—a book that encapsulates the joyful spirit of adventure and permission that Elizabeth has always brought to her work and to her life.

I liked this book so much because she gave her most honest discussion about creative process — That inspirations are everywhere, and it is a living entity, and like most living thing here on Earth, it needs human interaction, co-existence, and it is in constant search for brave souls to work with it. I personally experience that, you know. All these ideas and inspiration coming to me from nowhere – sometimes, I respond, most of the time, I don’t. Maybe because of fear? Uncertainty? Laziness? Having no sense of urgency? But I know it’s always there. And it’s willing to work alongside us. And it’s up to us to respond. But we always need to remember that inspiration won’t wait for us. It’s a very active and moving entity. Once we don’t pay attention, it will leave and find the next brave soul that is more than willing to participate.

It also offers practical advice about creative living, which I appreciate so much because I feel like this is one thing I am lacking in this field — formal education/training. She says that formal education won’t give you a guarantee of a successful creative journey. And same is true about life in general; same is true with most businessmen and entrepreneurs and artists. She took up Political Science and ended up being a writer. It made sense. Education will give you connections and network; it will give you an exclusive membership with people who thinks and speaks and dreams the same way that you do. But the work, how you apply your learnings and enhance your skills – it’s all up to you. Of course same thing won’t be true if you want to be a doctor or lawyer and engineer. But if you want to pursue a creative life which is far from what you once imagined or dreamed of (like me!), this might also be true to you as it is for me.

I’ve always loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s tone when she writes – very conversational, very casual. And it’s a technique that works for me when I am reading non-fiction. I am no expert, but I personally love this book for the things that it taught me.

Some quotes that I love (because I have so much, my copy almost turned out to be a coloring book!):

Every time you express a complaint about how difficult and tiresome it is to be creative, inspiration takes another step away from you, offended.

I think it’s a mighty act of human love to remind somebody that they can accomplish things by themselves, and that the world does not automatically owe them any reward, and that they are not as weak and hobbled as they may believe.

Do you have the courage? Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.

Let people have their opinions. More than that–let people love their opinions, just as you and I are in love with ours. But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your own creative work. And always remember that people’s judgments about you are none of your business.

You are worthy, dear one, regardless of the outcome. You will keep making your work, regardless of the outcome. You will keep sharing your work, regardless of the outcome. You were born to create, regardless of the outcome. You will never lose trust in the creative process, even when you don’t understand the outcome.

And maybe it’s like that with every important aspect of your life. Whatever it is you are pursuing, whatever it is you are seeking, whatever it is you are creating, be careful not to quit too soon.

UGH I HAVE SO MUCH, But yeah. 

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

This is my first Zinzi Clemmons novel and I honestly haven’t heard of her until I saw this in Fullybooked. I wanted to buy it right then and there because of its cute book cover. HAHA. But I didn’t, because I actually depend on book reviews before I get my own copy (sana same with all my purchases lol).

It was actually an easy read, finished this in 4 hours. It felt like I was reading a personal diary – chapters are often short – snippets of Thandi’s life and relationships, the death of her mother, how it affected her, and how she coped, her unexpected pegnancy and motherhood – arranged in no particular order. This is good for those with really short attention span.

I honestly don’t know what to personally feel about this novel. I didn’t like it as much as I would want to. I tried to like this since I am more of an essay-memoir-journal type of girl. But a lot of times, I found myself lost and the chapters, for me, felt like unfinished. Again, I am no expert with the technical stuff of writing, but it just doesn’t work for me. I like details, I like order, I like things to be explained and expounded. I was looking for the part where I will feel the emotion and effect of having to lose so much in life, having to lose my dad myself, but I felt nothing, which is quite disappointing because I actually prepared myself to be sad and hurt. 

Might read this again just to see if I would like it the second time. But here are some lines from the book that I like because it felt true:

I realized that this would be life; to figure out how to live without her hand on my back; her soft, accented English telling me Everything will be all right, Thandi. This was the paradox: How would I ever heal from losing the person who healed me? The question was so enormous that I could see only my entire life, everything I know, filling it.

Early on I felt I had nothing to offer Dean except my body. He was a full person and I knew that I wasn’t yet, that I was still growing, that he and our relationship were shunting me into being. I made myself available to him all the time, and it wasn’t long before he’d used me all up, grown bored, decided he needed more.

When I was a child, my mother would try to convince me of a woman’s need for a secret stash. “It can be anything: land, property, even a couple hundred dollars. You know, in case anything goes wrong and you have to get the hell out of there.” Her mother had told her this, as her mother before had told her.