This isn’t going to be one of those long, meandering posts in which I invite you to wander around my cranial cavity, viewing my memories, fantasies, and dreams through the prism of writing. (So, you know, it’s nothing like my usual posts.) You’re in luck, because it’s ugly up in there these days – memories like a child’s security blanket, worn thin from overuse; fantasies bleeding off the canvas, mixing with reality in unnatural ways; dreams recoiling and shrinking into the darkness at the mere glimpse of my outstretched hand. Oh yea, and melodrama abounds. It’s the techno-beat to which my brain dances. Like I said, you’re in luck.
Instead, I want to take a couple of moments to talk about Elizabeth Gilbert and her new book, Committed. When I read Eat, Pray, Love (and then reread it and then forced everyone I know to read it and then listened to it on CD and then read it again) I felt as if Liz was speaking directly to me. Like she’d come over for a cup of tea, which turned into an empty bottle of red, and by the time she left my eyes were puffy from crying and my stomach hurt from laughing and I felt, much like I do after a good yoga practice, complete. I put off Committed for a few weeks, because I was afraid I wouldn’t feel that way again; afraid it would disappoint in the way The Mermaid Chair bore not even a passing resemblance to The Secret Life of Bees.
But this was Lizzie G . . . I should have known better. My mom gave me the CD of Committed, with Liz reading, for Valentine’s Day. And, again, Liz speaks directly to me. Somehow, while weaving in marital statistics and history lessons on property acquisition and her views on same-sex marriage, Liz manages to sit right beside me, pull up her knees, and chat. She can do this because the book is, in effect, a conversation. She acknowledges as much in the forward, telling us she wrote the book for a group of specific women, whom she names. As a result, she has once again written something intimate. Words that are whispered tenderly. A book that feels less like an escape and more like an embrace. And an approach to writing that is both genuine and extraordinary.