Thursday, April 3, 2008

Take the Genius and Run.

Tonight I (and about 800 giddy, tipsy Portland women and ten duped husbands in the Schnitzer Auditorium) got to hear from Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my favorite, personally significant authors (I mean, I love Henry James, too, but have more in common with Daisy Miller than I ever will with James). She was as funny, irreverent and insightful as she is in her books. She debunked the urban legend that if you embark on a creative path, scary things (poverty, drug and alcohol abuse) will happen along the way. She also pointed out that people are equally worried for her and her crazy success with Eat, Pray, Love, an account of her year long journey around the world to find herself, which has been on the NYTimes bestseller list for like, a hundred years. She worries sometimes too, she said, but it helps to think of the whole creative endeavor as having a dialog with your genius - and making that the point of it all. Not embodying genius, not wild success or wild failure. Just keeping at it, and checking in. She ended the lecture and the Q&A section with a hugely personal (and I thought, random) question asked by a member of the audience. Had she reconsidered having children? She said...well, a lot of things that completely make sense. I couldn't believe that she was being so carefully considerate of her response, something that would've made me shout, "None of your business!" But that's what makes Gilbert so special to me - she dares to ask and answer the difficult questions. She empties out her heart to anyone who cares to listen, and says: As a mire thinking human, this is the best I can do. Bravo, Gilbert. We're impressed.


Sarah Bethany said...

You said it, sister. Nobody but Gilbert can write so eloquently about drowning in a pile of tears and snot on the bathroom floor. Has she married her dreamy lover yet?

Eden From Sweden said...

Yes. They own a shop in NJ called "Two Buttons" where they import Brazilian wares. She told a funny story where three middle aged women came in the store and flagged down "The Brazilian".

"Do you work here?" they demanded.

He confirmed that he did, and they said, "Do you know the owner of this shop is married to a famous author?" The Brazilian forged ignorance and said, "Oh, really?"

They nodded. "Yes, it's true. He's married to Barbara Kingsolver."