Big Magic & A Lobster

Find out what a lobster has to do with creative living.  Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert, for a beautiful book~

You’re listening to the Love Tidbits Podcast, where you’ll discover a small, tasty, delightful, bite-sized tidbit of love. I’m your host, LeAnn Austin 

Hey y’all, welcome to Love Tidbits, episode #22:  Big Magic & A Lobster 

I just finished reading the book Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Now, I got mixed up on this book recommendation and I thought I was getting The Big Leap, but instead I got Big Magic, and maybe it was by some big magic that that happened because what a fascinating book.  

Elizabeth shares on the first page of the book.

Question: What is creativity? 

Answer: The relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration. 

We all have jewels deep within us, and the hunt to uncover these jewels is creative living.  The courage to go on the hunt in the first place, that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.  The often surprising results of the hunt, that’s what Elizabeth calls Big Magic. 

Well there’s lots more packed into this book that I definitely recommend reading. And I want to share the story she tells at the very end… 

“Little Brother was an aspiring painter. He saved up all his money and went to France to surround himself with beauty and inspiration. He lived on the cheap. Painted every day.  Visited museums. Traveled to picturesque locations. Bravely spoke to everyone he met, and showed his work to anyone who would look at it. One afternoon, Little Brother struck up a conversation in a cafe with a group of charming young people, who turned out to be some species of fancy aristocrats.  

The charming young aristocrats took a liking to Little Brother and invited him to a party that weekend in a castle. They promised Little Brother that this was going to be the most fabulous party of the year. It would be attended by the rich, by the famous, and by several crowned heads of Europe. Best of all, it was to be a masquerade ball, where nobody skimped on costumes. It was not to be missed.  Dress up, they said, and join us. 

Excited, Little Brother worked all week on a costume that he was certain would be a show stopper. He looked all around Paris for materials, and held back neither on the details nor the audacity of his creation. Then he rented a car, and drove to the castle three hours from Paris.

He changed into his costume in the car and ascended the castle steps. He gave his name to the butler who found him on the guest list and politely welcomed him in.  Little Brother entered the ballroom, head held high, upon which he immediately realized his mistake. 

This was indeed a costume party. His new friends had not misled him there, but he had missed one detail in the translation. This was a themed costume party. The theme was a medieval court, and little brother was dressed as a lobster. All around him, the wealthiest and most beautiful people of Europe were attired in finery and elaborate period gowns, draped in heirloom jewels, sparkling with elegance as they waltzed to a fine orchestra.

Little Brother, on the other hand, was wearing a red leotard, red tights, red ballet slippers, and giant red foam claws. Also, his face was painted red. This is the part of the story where I must tell you that little brother was over six feet tall and quite skinny, but with the long waving antenna on his head, he appeared even taller. And he was also of course, the only American in the room. 

He stood at the top of the steps for one long gastly moment. He almost ran away in shame. Running away in shame seemed like the most dignified response to this situation, but he didn’t run.  Somehow, he found his resolve. He’d come this far after all, he’d worked tremendously hard to make this costume and he was proud of it.

He took a deep breath, and walked onto the dance floor. He reported later that it was only his experience as an aspiring artist that gave him the courage and the license to be so vulnerable and absurd. Something in life had already taught him to just put it out there, whatever it is.  That costume was what he had made after all, so that’s what he was bringing to the party. 

It was the best he had. It was all he had. So he decided to trust himself, to trust in his costume, to trust in the circumstances. As he moved into the crowd of aristocrats, a silence fell, the dancing stopped, the orchestra stuttered to a stop. The other guests gathered around Little Brother. Finally someone asked him what on earth he was?  Little Brother bowed deeply and announced, I am the court lobster.  

Then laughter, not ridicule, just joy. They loved him. They loved his sweetness, his weirdness, his giant red claw, his bright spandex tights. He was the trickster among them, and so he made the party.  Little Brother even ended up dancing that night with the Queen of Belgium.”

Elizabeth says, “This is how you must do it people.  You must stubbornly walk into that room regardless, and you must hold your head high. You made it, you get to put it out there. Never apologize for it. Never explain it away. Never be ashamed of it. You did your best with what you knew and you worked with what you had in the time you were given.  You were invited and you showed up, and you simply cannot do more than that.

They might throw you out, but then again, they might not.  They probably won’t throw you out actually.  The ballroom is often more welcoming and supportive than you could ever imagine. Somebody might even think you’re brilliant and marvelous. You might end up dancing with royalty. 

Or, you might just end up having a dance alone in the corner of the castle with your big red foam claws waving in the empty air. That’s fine too. Sometimes it’s like that. What you absolutely must not do, is turn around and walk out. Otherwise, you will miss the party. And that will be a pity because, we did not come all this great distance, and make all this great effort, only to miss the party at the last moment.” 

If you want to expand your creativity, strengthen your mental and emotional muscles, and incorporate more love into everything, join my Lovin Me Program

And as Elizabeth shares in my final thought from the book, “The treasures that are hidden inside of you are hoping you will say yes.”  Hmmm, something to think about.  Have a good one y’all ~ and here’s to creativity and love. 

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