I know how this ends

My TBR (to be read) pile is less of a tidy stack of books and more the contents of over half the bookcases in my house, a huge wordery wishlist and at least 75% of my local library. I will go to my death bed clutching a book and bargaining with the Grim Reaper for just one more wee chapter.

I absolutely have favourites. Books that I adore and attempt to foist on anyone who stands still long enough for me to push them into their hands. However, I very seldom revisit. Occasionally the notion will take me, only to be quickly overridden with the realisation that I already know how this ends.

My list of rereads is tiny: Good Omens, The Ocean at the end of the Lane and World War Z are the only ones which spring to mind.

The obvious exceptions to this rule are kids books. I reread some of my favourites to my eldest and now I’m counting down the bedtimes till I get to read them all again with my youngest.

We’re currently reading Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. She adores the films and the book is one which my husband read to my eldest so I’ve only read it once, about 20 years ago.

Wow, it’s good.

With all the brilliance of Alan Rickman, Dame Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, etc. on screen it is easy to forget just how magnificent a story this is. I’d forgotten far more than I remembered and I am loving rediscovering all these nuggets of JK Rowling’s genius.

All the foreboding, the clues that make sense only now I know how it all ends and the sheer scale of imagination. I’m in awe of the worlds that a good writer can bring to life. The threads that weave together to create this magnificent embroidery.

The first reading of a book for me is all about the story. What happens next, a race to the finish. What I’m discovering with this reread is that knowing what happens next means I’m able to pay attention to the mastery of the story telling. Freeing me up to look for clues, new discoveries and hidden gem. I’m loving it.

Even the exquisite delayed gratification of restricting myself to one chapter a night. I’m savouring this.

It’s almost making me consider rereading some of my favourites. I just need to work through the wee pile beside my bed first and maybe a page of that wordery wishlist. Just don’t let me anywhere near the library…

Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

Sometimes I wonder if the universe is trying to tell me something. The beautiful rainbow on an otherwise perfectly miserable day. Picking up my phone to call someone just as it begins to vibrate with them calling me. Those coincidences reassuring me that this is all part of some kind of grand design.

Other days I don’t need to wonder. The universe is crystal clear in her rallying cry, no decoding required.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was a shout. Possibly even a banshee scream.

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I tend not to read non fiction. I’m all about the story, the more fantastical the better. So when I found myself in the library’s non-fiction aisles I was a bit unsure what I was doing. But I was drawn to the spine of Big Magic. When I saw the headline on the cover ‘Creative living beyond fear’ all the wee hairs on the back of my neck woke up.

I thought I’d read a couple of chapters to see what I made of it. I read 120 pages before stopping to feed my poor, starving children. Fed them and immediately went back to the book. Inhaling rather than reading.

I wrote notes, nodded and giggled throughout. Gilbert’s style is warm, conversational and never preaching or highbrow. To be told that I don’t need to conquer my fears is massively liberating. I can own being a scaredy cat. But I will no longer stagnate, frozen in fear.

What struck me the most about Big Magic was the infusion of joy. Gilbert does not pretend that creating is an easy option. She instead mounts a convincing and appealing case for it being a positive, happy and nourishing endeavour.

Ultimately, I would love to make a career from writing. That said, I don’t write with this in mind. I write because I need to create. I write because I always have. I write because I don’t know how not to.

The universe steering me towards a book that celebrates this right now. Well that’s Big Magic