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Perhaps because she wrote a bestselling travel memoir about eating pizza, doing yoga, and falling in love (Eat, Pray, Love) I tried to resist Elizabeth Gilbert. After all, it’s easy to be cynical about someone else’s wildly successful chronicle of their own happiness. (Says The Onion’s A.V. Club: “The mere mention of the title will cause most people to react like they’ve just been handed a bag of dog poop.”) But in the end, Gilbert won me over with her sincerity and willingness to turn her lens directly onto herself.
So when a poet-friend sent me a link to a talk she gave about creativity, I watched it and thought Gilbert raised some compelling questions. Essentially, she tries to distinguish between the idea of being a genius and having genius, and it occurred to me as I watched that I alternate between heaping myself with pressure and waiting for some kind of divine inspiration–two contradictory approaches, neither of them helpful. (She also describes an argument between Tom Waits and his muse on a California highway, and I figure it’s worth it for that alone. )
Anyway, food for thought. Apologies to those who have already seen it.