Tag Archive: Elizabeth Gilbert


Nurturing Creativity

In a TED Talk titled “Nurturing Creativity,” Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love, explores the creative process.  She also explores the word genius.  We usually associate that word with a rare person who is somehow marginalized from society and set under a profound light.  However, Gilbert argues that instead of being a genius, we all have a genius that inspires us.

This genius is a type of muse, which was commonly referred to among ancient Greeks.  A muse can be a spirit, a goddess, or even a real person.  A muse is a source of knowledge or insight. Gilbert mentions that Socrates, the great philosopher, had a “daemon” that occasionally popped by to lend some inspiration.

American poet and author Ruth Stone uses a beautiful metaphor to describe the creative process.  An idea is like a storm, rolling over the hills and heading toward the first writer it sees. If the writer can get to a pen and paper fast enough, the storm will run right through her and spill onto the paper.  If the writer doesn’t get there fast enough, the storm will swell through the writer and search for the next one.

That storm is the muse.  From time to time, the muse enters us suddenly.  We have to use these moments to our advantage and let the muse conduct the writing.  This inspiration is precious and unseen.  It sneaks up on you and it is your job to be ready to use it. When the muse decides to take a leave of absence, or even hibernate, the writer still has a duty to show up for work.  (This “genius” is known for being flaky).

This should ease some writers’ doubt and anxiety.  A common fear among writers is that their work is not as good as former work, or that it is not original.  Now you have an excuse.  Just tell yourself that the muse was absent a lot.  The muse is there to praise but also to blame.  So just keep writing. You will produce some “bad” writing and then you will have surges of great writing, and you have to appreciate those moments.  You have to filter out the bad to get the good.  If you lose inspiration, just remember the muse will come around.  Just be patient.

-Sarah Diedrick

Ham-sa – I am That

“You need to read this!” My friend plopped down beside me and tossed a worn-out book into my lap. Eat, Pray, Love. “One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, an Indonesia”. I humored her and took my time looking at the cover, all the while wondering whether I really wanted to read about one woman’s search for happiness. Wasn’t it hard enough keeping track of my own? I couldn’t have known that I would bring my worn-out copy to college five months later.

***

How often do you say you are “fine”? You know, you aren’t great, but you aren’t bad. You are just… fine. It seems like the perfect in between type of word. What does it really mean? Fucked-up, Insecure, Emotional, and Neurotic (or so I have heard). Wouldn’t it be nice to take a break from being “fine”? From homework, jobs, school, and social expectations? You become sick of drinking “enough of that damn Saint-John’s-wort tea to cheer up a whole Russian gulag” and all you want to say when someone asks you, “How are you?” is “I’m happy.”

That was Elizabeth Gilbert’s goal. Following a painful divorce and struggling with depression, she devoted one year of her life to Eating, Praying, and Loving. To Pleasure, Devotion, and Balance. But this is not a story about only herself. It is a universal story of self-discovery, and by using her own travels as an example, Elizabeth stresses how finally finding happiness on this journey changed her life.

The book encourages the reader to “self-interview” him- or herself with the most important question: “What are you really here for and what is stopping you from doing it?” Once these beginning steps of self-discovery are taken, a miraculous journey will unfold on its own. Elizabeth Gilbert started her journey by learning Italian in her New York City bathtub, and eventually found her way to the best gelateria and pizzeria in Italy.

For Elizabeth, learning about herself included taking a spiritual journey (not to be confused with religious journey). She started her relationship with God with the words: “‘Hello, God. How are you? I’m Liz. It’s nice to meet you.'” It is not God, precisely, or Allah, Shiva, Braham, Vishnu or Zeus; when asked, “‘What kind of God do you believe in?’ her answer is simple: ‘I believe in a magnificent God.'”

Following her traumatic divorce and post-divorce affair, Elizabeth had to learn to find happiness by loving herself before loving anyone else. By the end of her journey, however, she finds more to love than just herself. Eat, Pray, Love, a New York Times best-seller, is an honest, funny, and encouraging book, especially for young women.

If not already curious, I hope that one of my favorite quotes from the book will entice you to buy a copy the next time you amble through the Student Store. Upon Elizabeth’s question of the difference between Heaven and Hell, Ketut, the medicine man, answers, “Same-same…Heaven, you go up, through seven happy places. Hell, you go down, through seven sad places. This is why it better for you to go up…”

By Vicky Waldthausen

Eat, Pray, Love: A Book of Infinite Virtues

We all know that if a book makes an appearance on Oprah then it must be good. Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love is no exception.

Divided into three sections — Italy, India, Indonesia — the book delivers just what its title suggests, gracing its readers with the affirmation that indulgence is fine, spirituality is important and love is essential.

Girly? Yes. Emotional? Yes. Cliché? No. Eat, Pray, Love engages the reader from the beginning as Gilbert briefly recounts the heart wrenching events that culminated with her year-long sabbatical. Gilbert maintains that genuine honesty and sarcastic wit throughout her memoir.

The book provides new perspective for any reader, detailing what it’s really like for a middle aged American woman to go on a “spiritual journey.” These details include insight into the absurdities of life in an ashram, the trials of learning a new language and the desperate longing to obtain that ever elusive comfort we call “love.”

She also offers quite a bit of wisdom on eastern religion, eloquently interjecting the basics on meditation and worship as well as Yogis, Buddhists and Hindus.

Just when her words start to sound a little preachy or simply too good to be true, Gilbert hits the reader with a twist of luck, a bite of sarcasm or a ridiculous travel mishap.

The fascinating individuals Gilbert encounters during her travels add warmth and sincerity to her tale. From suave Italians to Richard from Texas to a kinky medicine woman in Indonesia, Gilbert gives her story life and novelty with anecdotes provided by her characters.

The book makes a strong impression, providing comfort and hope to those in despair and inspiration to those in a slump. Far from your typical self help book, Eat, Pray, Love lures and dares readers across its pages. You will put down this book with higher self esteem, an abundance of love and a big craving for some authentic Italian food.

By Mary Lide Parker