Inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert

I attended a presentation of Unique Lives and Experiences, featuring Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of
Eat,Pray,Love. I read the book for Book Club so I was interested in hearing what inspired the author to write. Ms. Gilbert is a very relaxed,witty and warm speaker. She makes you feel as if you’re in your living room, having a chat with a friend. She started the talk revealing that she knew she was good at one thing and one thing only – writing. She kept journals and imagined stories throughout her youth. She decided that if she was going to be a writer, she needed to “marry” her calling, and therefore this is how her relationship with writing has evolved – a true commitment. Her inspiration for Eat,Pray,Love came as a way of sorting through a painful time in her life. She never dreamed that it would turn into the success and phenomena that it is. Her only goal as a writer was to get “something” published before she died, and now after fulfilling her wish, she continues to write passionately about the things she loves. She is currently working on a book about gardening and botany.

A few things I took away from the evening :

Think of writing as “taking a sentence for a walk on a page”, when you are inspired to write, let it grab you and take you for a walk or ride….
If you are in a slump, focus on something else, clear your mind , try not to think about “green monkeys.”In the case of Ms. Gilbert’s,for months,she immersed herself in her garden. Soon after, the first sentence for her book
“Committed”  pounced upon her thoughts, causing her to take it for a walk on the page.
She told the story of Clive James – poet,critic and novelist who dealt with his writing slump by immersing himself into refurbishing his little girls rusty bike. He painted it blue, then adorned it with hundreds of tiny stars. The bike was such a hit in the neighborhood that all the kids lined up at his doorstep asking for their bike to be painted the same way. After fulfilling their wish, he got back  his inspiration.

Elizabet Gilbert gives a very interesting talk on “Ted Talks”

She also revealed that after this tour, she would not be speaking publicly anymore. She wanted to focus her time on her two “loves” –  her husband and her writing.

© 2011 Ann Ivy Male

1 Comment

  1. The Clive James story reminds me of a certain daddy who made a skating rink in the backyard of the family home and maintained it throughout the Canadian winter. His children and neighbourhood kids spent hours having fun. Daddylove does not get any better than this.

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