Has a book ever fallen into your hands just when you needed to read it? Five years ago, Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, was that book for me. It found me at a time when I was no more certain about my future than I was about the weather and it told me exactly what I needed to hear.
That book turned me into a huge Elizabeth Gilbert fan...although cyber-stalker might be a more accurate description. From the moment I turned the last page, I wanted more of Gilbert’s wit and inspiration. So I tuned in when she appeared on Oprah, I watched her TED speech on YouTube, I scoured every corner of her website; I even visited her Frenchtown, N.J. furniture store, Two Buttons, hoping to catch a glimpse of her. So you can imagine my excitement when Zoellner Arts Center announced that she was coming to Lehigh Valley as part of its Notations Lecture Series. Let’s just say I would’ve knocked down old ladies to get tickets. (Fortunately, I didn’t have to.)
The event took place last Thursday evening in Baker Hall. Not surprisingly, she spoke to a full house. Fortunately, we arrived early and got seats up front. For an hour, Gilbert shared her journey, from growing up on a Connecticut Christmas tree farm to her early struggles as a writer, to the unanticipated success of Eat, Pray, Love, to having Julia Roberts play her in the movie adaption of her life. She was funny, honest, humble and inspiring; all the things I love about her writing.
At the end, she announced it was the last time she planned to speak publicly about Eat, Pray, Love; it was time for her to move on. I was stunned. Somehow the stars (and the event coordinators at Zoellner) had aligned to give me the opportunity to hear this woman speak about the book that had meant so much to me. I left that evening feeling grateful. Just as she had five years earlier, Elizabeth Gilbert gave me exactly what I needed.
This post was written by Lehigh Valley InSite guest blogger Erika Liodice, who also writes the Beyond the Gray blog.