If I had to recommend a book for aspiring writers, artists…aspiring anything, it would be Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion. I picked up this book a week after graduating college, and revisit it about once a month. In our field it is all too easy and toxic to fall into a pattern of self doubt, and Luna provides just the uplift to keep you moving.
Crossroads is all about “following your must.” As Luna puts it, “Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us. Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own. Because when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place.”
Luna’s personal must was to buy a white-walled studio in San Francisco and make it her personal painting haven. Mine is to write the stories that my inner seventeen-year-old is telling me, and to create irresistible theatre. Yours can be anything from writing the next Gone Girl, or travelling to a part of the world you’ve never seen, or having kids. It might be to solve a math proof or to translate Dante’s Inferno into Mandarin, or simply to find a job, any job, that you look forward to going to each morning. The great thing about Luna’s book is that it does not judge, it only encourages. Luna illustrates the difference between a job, a career, and a calling, and proposes the biggest soul-searching question: what if all three could be one and the same?
Can you even imagine?
The best part is that Luna gives her readers tips and tricks to start incorporating musts into our lives, little by little. Some of us have already taken the leap to follow our must, and for others, it’s not so easy. We’re tied down by rent payments, children to support, or our family’s expectations of us. And Luna gets that. The Crossroads of Should and Must makes this life choice feel not nearly as intimidating or impossible as it might sound. It gives hope to that little firey part inside of you that’s dying to do something with your life. And through some of her suggestions, you might even discover musts you had no idea were lying dormant within you.
Luna’s words are all too relatable, her points exciting and inspiring, and her artwork adorable.
The next time you’re at your local bookstore, perusing your usual suspects, grab a copy of Crossroads. (At The Strand in NYC it’s in the basement. I imagine it’s in the self help section of other bookstores). I can guarantee you will not be disappointed, unless you are someone who would rather not have their life improved. And remember to Choose Must.
You can also buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Crossroads-Should-Must-Follow-Passion/dp/0761184880
Or even here:
Aaaand your prompt this week is: “It’s only a lie if you don’t believe it.”
Write write write!
Blog by Tallie Gabriel, artwork by Elle Luna. http://elleluna.com/
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Tallie Gabriel is an actor, writer, and BookHive social media maven. She’s a member of InViolet Theatre and works with BEDLAM Theatre in NYC.
She currently lives in Astoria and at the Strand Bookstore.