Do You Have the Courage?

by Dianna Jerrybandhan Waugh

Be Brave Big Magic

“When courage dies, creativity dies with it.”__Elizabeth Gilbert

As a young child, my love of books began when my father rewarded me with a book when I’d done something good—what a concept. He was a teacher. I loved fairly tales so I would get a new fairy tale as my reward. I didn’t know then, but methinks it was the life lessons in them that captured me (and probably the beautiful illustrations).

I’ve always felt that I did not have to experience everything in order to navigate this world. I had always hoped to have an older and wiser person to learn from but I found that this never happened for me. I was exposed to older folks, but they didn’t seem so wise. They didn’t seem interested in sharing life’s wisdoms either.

So in lieu of a wise old sage, I instead learned many wisdoms from books. And thanks to Mr. Cates, my ninth and twelfth grade honors English teacher at Farmingdale High School in New York—I cannot read just one book at a time. He stretched us and made us grasp the ability to have three books going at the same time.

Mr. Cates taught us to read and write profusely. I effectively blame him for my inability to read one book at a time.

I can list the books which have impacted my life the most but I will save that for another day. For now, I want to talk about the book I recently read, or rather listened to on —(I really should work for them in some capacity). I can do laundry, sweep and mop the kitchen, and organize my house while listening to books. And when I make the ten hour drive  south to L.A., or the eight hour drive north to Washington state, I listen to my books in the car and the drive is over too soon.

I just finished “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert—best known for writing the best-seller, “Eat, Pray, Love.”

This book has brought me back to life. My father was shot and killed a little over a year ago, and nothing has been able to motivate me to rejoin society. Well, “Big Magic” did it for me.

As a Sociologist in training, I’m aware that another explanation for my recovery is that enough time has passed—however, this book, and especially because it’s read by the author herself—injected me with the juice I needed to get excited about not just living life, but actually contributing to it.

When Professor Jack Gilbert chats with a young female college student about what she hopes to do with her life and she responds that she would like to be a writer, he stops and asks—“Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”

Today I write fearfully and courageously . Will you join me?