Saturday, April 26, 2014

Eat, Pray Love?

There are two things that people seem to be asking me when I tell them about the trip I'm embarking upon. 1) Do you have a publisher for the book, then? and 2) Is this your own adventure of Eat, Pray Love

To answer the first question: no. No, no, and no again. I realize that this is a reasonable question, and in some ways certainly a metric of the work I'm doing. However, I find it a little disheartening each time I have to say "No. I'm just following my dreams without support from the outside world yet. Sorry to disappoint you." (Which is not to negate all of the wonderful and humbling support I've received through my gofundme campaign. Obviously people do believe in and support me, they just don't happen to be publishing houses.) 

I would love to be the sort of author who is given a book deal before they even go off to the far away land and do their research or write all day every day somewhere peaceful and quiet. Maybe, with a little luck and a hell of a lot of work, I could be. But today is not that day. So no - no one has agreed to publish my words. This is a deal I've made with myself to follow something through. And damn it, that's meaningful too! 

The answer to the second question is interesting. My first response was along the lines of "Not at all... I'm not a 36 year old divorced woman who is trying to discover spirituality and happiness. (Not to mention Elizabeth Gilbert got PAID IN ADVANCE to go on this journey and write this book). I'm a 25 year old who's taking advantage of life because I can and that's good enough!" 

Recently though, I've decided to re-read Gilbert's infamous book again to wrap my hands better around what that means for me. 

The first time I read Eat, Pray, Love, I had just turned 18, I was sitting in the parking lot between the cabins I cleaned in the morning waiting for the guests to leave and stealing a few minutes behind the pie cutters stand at Betty's Pies. I was about to move to Colorado for my first year of college. I had not faced the crippling anxiety that was about to take over my life. I was mourning coming out of my two best years, but full of hope, excitement and ready to be moved. 

This time I am certainly enjoying Gilbert's story of taking life by it's for different reasons, perhaps most importantly that it is getting me really excited to travel. The other most common question I get about the trip is, "who are you going with?" to which I usually respond "I'm meeting a lot of friends there!" which does mean that some people are meeting me along the way, but mostly I'm trusting that when I'm alone for a few days there's a good reason for it and when I meet people and we share experiences there's a good reason for that as well. 

It has made me dedicated as well to keeping better notes of the trip, to writing down more of my experiences in my own voice as they are happening, rather than with the oh-so-smart goggles of the present looking backwards. 

I'm remembering that this will be a lonely trip sometimes and that no matter what, when I get home I'm going to think of it as nothing but beautiful and wonderful for the rest of my life. (This is something I've gotten really good at remembering in the lonely moments. Today, even Venezuela was beautiful, though at the time I'd have given anything - besides, it turned out, my college degree - to leave early.) There is also something to be said for the personal journey I'm going on. I think in some ways I've lost bits of myself here in LA which I would like to reclaim, or at least focus on the woman I want to be most for a while, in new places, with my eyes wide opened. 

I'm still reading the pleasure-seeking Italian part of Gilbert's book. She relays the story of a greater heartbreak than any I can imagine, though I'm not sure it's fair to actually compare, then talks about choosing joy, relaxation and self-love. This is beautiful and wonderful for me to remember, especially right now when my life here is winding down rather slowly and I'm feeling a little bleh about the whole thing - ready to just get a move on, honestly.

Help fund my artistic journey through Northern Ireland where I will be researching and finishing my book, working title Dear Bird for 3-4 months. Learn more about my campaign and donate here. Thank you!

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