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Thursday, November 1, 2012

122

Write It!

"I mean, it took me a long time. It would take me almost a year to write one short story. It took me a long time because I didn’t have the confidence, and because I didn’t have the time and the energy. But honestly, what drained my energy those years, more than my work, was the fucked-up emotional psychosexual dramas that I got involved with. If I could help myself at all in retrospect as a 43-year-old woman I would be like, “Get out of that guy’s car! Don’t move in with him! Don’t cheat on that guy! Don’t run away with this one! Don’t break up this marriage!” The stuff that I was doing was so hugely mentally invasive, and so physically and emotionally draining for me and whoever I dragged into that story. When I look back on those years, what feels miraculous to me is not that I was able to do any writing working as a bartender and a waitress—it’s that I was able to do any writing while I was making the stupidest, fucking personal decisions anybody has ever made. I feel like that, more than anything, is a tribute to how stubborn I was about wanting to be a writer, because so much of my life was really quite a mess. But I really wanted it. I wanted it so much that, despite myself, I managed to get work done."

—Some inspiration for the beginning of NaNoWriMo, from Elizabeth Gilbert. Or, if you're not engaged in the process of NaNoWriMo, for not moving in with that guy?

122 Comments / Post A Comment

Emby

"I did a bunch of dumb shit that kept me busy from writing, but then I wrote about it."

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

...but then was portrayed by Julia Roberts, which is at least my life goal.

Slutface

"I was able to do any writing while I was making the stupidest, fucking personal decisions anybody has ever made."

My God she's exhausting.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Slutface Right? Hello, hyperbole. I don't think you and Ms. Gilbert have met.

Reginal T. Squirge

"No, really. I've, like, struggled you guys."

Ellie

@Slutface I don't get why this is so terrible though. I mean, a lot of people (including me) can relate to making stupid decisions in your personal life that negatively impact your concentration in the rest of your life. I mean, I personally have a kind of dumb and confusing (but fun!) personal life, in my case it doesn't get in the way of my productive activities, but I'm not, like, breaking up anyone's marriage, so it's probably a matter of degree. People (including me) obviously really like her writing, so it is per se not valueless. I honestly don't get why people hate Elizabeth Gilbert so much.

melis

BECAUSE SHE ATE PASTA THAT ONE TIME

WHICH I HATE

melis

SHE IS ACTUALLY COMPOSED ENTIRELY OF WHITE PRIVILEGE; SHE HAS NO INTERNAL ORGANS

melis

EVERYTHING IS HER FAULT FOR REASONS

Slutface

@Ellie I just think saying you've made the worst mistakes anyone has ever made ever is a bit much. Every interview with her is like this.

Ellie

@Slutface But everyone says things like that, all the time. If she were in the business of some kind of serious enterprise, it would be one thing. But she's in the business of trying to sound expressive in the field of literary personal narrative that appeals to women. To me, her writing and interviews are appropriate to her genre.

Slutface

@Ellie If you consider being an emotional basketcase appealing.

JanieS

@Ellie For me the issue is that she is, demographically supposed to appeal to me, and I find her to be extremely unpleasant. I get angry because of society thinking I should like this thing I dislike, and therefore my dislike gets expanded into HATRED and LOATHING because I feel the need to really distance myself from this thing Society Says I Should Like. (See also: romantic comedies, Shonda Rimes, etc.)

Reginal T. Squirge

Sometimes I just need to hate something and it's either Gilbert or myself.

melis

@Reginal T. Squirge CIRCLE GETS THE SQUARE

Reginal T. Squirge

"I want all hot tubs cold."

"I hope all the bad things in life happen to you and you alone. I don't even know you and I hate your guts."

Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails

@Slutface Not only is SHE exhausting, I also get exhausted by having to justify my dislike. It reminds me very much of the internet-feminist Twilight arc, where some people dislike a Hugely Popular Thing because reasons (creepy abuse narratives! racism! romanticizing suicide! crappy writing!), then some other people dislike that same popular thing for other, icky reasons (it's popular and GIRLS like it), and so then the first set of people twist themselves into pretzels trying to criticize the Hugely Popular Thing while making it clear that they are not criticizing it for Icky Reasons and then start questioning their own motives, and feeling obligated to bring up every other author who has written things that could be criticized under the first set of objections so they are clear that they're not just picking on Hugely Popular Thing for Secret Icky Reasons. And I'm in favor of self-examination and questioning well-tread lines of thinking, but it can get exhausting.

I think Elizabeth Gilbert is super whiny and self-indulgent, and not very interesting. And that is what I think.

Linette

@Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails I totally get that. Sometimes people just rub you the wrong way. There are several actors I just cannot stand and I don't have a solidly-argued reason for that dislike but it is VERY MUCH THERE.

sevanetta

@Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails I have this exact problem with disliking the Princess Bride. Most people like (adore) it. I don't. I don't have a problem with this, but dear god, the millions who do. And then I find myself having to defend why I don't like it, and then it drives me nuts because for god's sake, it's just not my thing, I don't want to talk about it because I don't like it, and everyone else is still there super hurt that I hate their favourite movie. It's not personal!

So in conclusion, you don't have to like Elizabeth Gilbert or her work, I totally give you permission to express that without explanation!

Miss Maszkerádi

@sevanetta As you wiiiiiiish.

packedsuitcase

@sevanetta You're maybe the first person I've "met" that didn't like The Princess Bride, and I have to admit my first thought was, "Oh *sadface*" but then I thought about all of the people that give me hell for not liking Jane Austen (except for loving the Keira Knightly version of P&P which should tell you just how much I dislike Jane Austen that the only thing I like is the one that is least true to the book) and I want to say I stand with you. I will defend your right to dislike The Princess Bride even as I take a break from reading the book to watch the movie.

sevanetta

@Countess Maritza lol

sevanetta

@packedsuitcase thankyou!! And I shall defend your right not to like Jane Austen. I love Jane Austen and that Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice is def my least fave movie version, I find that very amusing. My best friend does not like Jane Austen and we are still good!

Also as far as Princess Bride goes, I think Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a much better example of that kind of movie, it even has the same lead male actor. And Hercules Returns is absolutely the best, but nobody's ever heard of it, so. :)

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Ugh. UGH. I want to put Elizabeth Gilbert and Elizabeth Wurtzel in a cage and make them try to out-drama each other, but the kicker would be that they have to do it WITHOUT AN AUDIENCE. MUAHAHAHA!

aphrabean

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose HAHAHAHA YES. Yes.

City_Dater

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

There's no point in self-examination if no one is watching.

But seriously, by the end of Eat, Pray, Love I was screaming "Every woman from Jane Austen on down has covered this in a less breathy voice!"
It's basically just another variation on 'to choose a man is to choose a life' with some pasta and yoga thrown in. Ugh.

Slutface

Are we sure this isn't Taylor Swift speaking to us from the future?

Bittersweet

@Slutface Nah, she'd release an album called Took Me a Long Time, with hit singles "Didn't Have the Confidence," "(You're So) Mentally Invasive," and everyone's favorite, "Despite You, Jerkface Ex-Boyfriend and Asswipe Music Critic, I Managed to Get Work Done."

frigwiggin

I feel like any writing that I do happens despite myself.

jeffersonia

Dramatic? Yes. But does she have a point? Also, yes.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@jesslyn True. Very true. It's hard for me to see past my emotions about Elizabeth Gilbert to have a frank discussion about writing-while-emotional.

jeffersonia

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose It's almost like she's advocating for not being dramatic in the most dramatic way possible. Which doesn't help anybody like her more, certainly....

BosomBuddy

Say what you will, but this:

"...for all extents and purposes..."

GAH.

melis

It's so weird, I thought I was reading a paragraph about a woman who'd made mistakes in her personal life and wanted to describe how that made it difficult for her to write, but I guess it was actually a paragraph about how Elizabeth Gilbert eats small cats and recreationally defaces synagogues.

Emby

@melis I'd actually read the latter.

PistolPackinMama

@melis word. I didn't realize Elizabeth Gilbert is the Anti-christ to Ann Patchett's Redeemer?

Live and learn, I guess.

melis

@PistolPackinMama Did you know that Elizabeth Gilbert has never once had a real job and regularly undertips??

Linette

@melis Someone needs to invent some kind of widget where every time you throw down a comment, you get a thumbs-up from whoever has it installed. IT WOULD SAVE US ALL SO MUCH TIME.

aphrabean

@melis To me, the issue is that she's totally oblivious to almost everyone who is Not Elizabeth Gilbert. At least in this passage, there is a brief hat tip to the other people she involved in her psychosexual dramas, but for the most part, her world view is totally centered on her and her alone. When she reflects on her own bad behavior, it's never about the pain that she may have caused others, but the pain that she herself is in, and this particular excerpt really seems to strike that same dang note.

I also think the EPL phenomena is just another extension of capitalist wish-fulfillment masquerading as self-reflection, linked to the Prosperity Gospel movement and the Secret and all these other methods of dollar-dollar-bill-spiritualism that allows for the appearance of self reflection without actually demanding any sort of authentic change AND is only accessible to a very small subset of individuals. (I'm an atheist who wanted to be a nun, though, so maybe I just need everyone to be full of guilt and suffering?)

aphrabean

@PistolPackinMama Ann Patchett what? Do people love her? I do not love her. But I only love lady science fiction and like. . . George Eliot. Clearly I am a crank.

PistolPackinMama

@aphrabean Well, crank you may be, but at least in the things you do like reading, you show good taste. Although I don't really get down with Anne McCaffrey, so if she counts as ladyscifi, not her. But otherwise...

Also, yes, I think a lot of people do like Ann Patchett. I liked Patron Saint of Liars a lot. I haven't read it in a decade, so maybe I wouldn't like it much now? But I liked it when I was in my early-mid 20's.

@melis Elizabeth Gilbert regularly steals the books of other authors whose surnames start with G from libraries and replaces them with copies of her own works. How she managed to get into San Quentin's library, no one knows, but her scaly footprints were seen everywhere around the shelves.

aphrabean

@PistolPackinMama I started reading Bel Canto once, and was very meh, about it, so that is really my only Ann Patchett exposure. Is there some kind of Gilbert v. Patchett thing that I do not know about? What is happening?

Re: Anne McCaffrey: I used to house sit for a new-agey couple who LOVED her. They also had a poem praising the Earth Mother Gaia's vulva in the entry way of their house so basically no A.M. for me, ever. I just read Octavia Butler, Joanna Russ, and Alice B. Sheldon over and over again.

PistolPackinMama

@aphrabean No no, I made up the Patchett/Gilbert cage match.

And... your houseowner people sound like a hoot.

JadedStone

NANOWRIMO!
LET'S DO THIS THING!!!

Anybody? HELLO?

Teeth and Claws

@JadedStone YES HI IT IS ON.

questingbeast

@JadedStone I've done half today's words! But then I started procrastinating by reading the Nanowrimo forums and getting unreasonably annoyed.

Teeth and Claws

@JadedStone About the same here, except wrangling dental insurance instead of reading the forums. But hey, the insurance website was unreasonably annoying, too. I felt stupider every minute I was on that site.

cecil hungry

@JadedStone I'm on it, although I'm cheating a little by using a story I'd already partially written, so today's words were kinda a gimme... oh well.

Fry Fry A Hen

@JadedStone I wrote 600 words over my lunch break. True confession: my real goal is not 50,000 words. Too painful--My real goal is to write every day. I figure this is compatible with other November goals, including "Maintain Employment" and "Have Conversations with Spouse."

Porn Peddler

HAIRPIN NOVEL WRITING GROUP, NANOWRIMO AND OTHERWISE. I NEED YOUR LOVES, HAIRPIN, THIS FUCKING NOVEL IS GETTING LONG.

(edit: get it, fucking novel, there's fucking. in the novel. it's a novel about fucking)

Derevkova

@JadedStone Hell to the yes. I'm Riddle on the forum/site and accidentally 5003 words today so far.

Elsajeni

@JadedStone ME, ME! I haven't started, and in fact I don't even really know what I'm going to write, but I'm doing it. I'm Elsajeni on there too.

terrific

@JadedStone I am here! I am doing this! I have words! 2300 of them, to be exact.

packedsuitcase

@terrific Yes! I'm in. 2844 words so far. The first 1000 suck pretty badly, but then I poured a glass of red wine and things got moving.

Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails

@JadedStone Anybody want to be Hairpin writing buddies, I'm Sugar&Snails&PuppyDogTails (changing it up!) and have about 2,000, approximately 300 of them not terrible.

prefer not to say

You know what took me so long to write my first book? Working full time, trying to take care of my family, and some really boring health issues.

I would have liked to have procrastinated using "emotional psycho-sexual drama" but let's face it -- I was just too tired.

PS - but I did finish it and it's a thing on Amazon now.

Blackwatch Plaid

@prefer not to say Yeah, if she had been working more than 3 nights a week, she might not have had the energy for psycho-sexual drama, let alone writing. Lord knows I don't.

Blushingflwr

@Blackwatch Plaid For real. I think the most psycho-sexual drama I ever had was when I was unemployed. I don't know that I'd have the energy for it now.

Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails

@prefer not to say Congratulations on your book!!

cecil hungry

@Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails isn't is SNIPS and snails and puppy dog tails???? HAVE I BEEN DOING IT WRONG MY WHOLE LIFE???? Also, of course little boys are made out of things that are wayyyyy more interesting than what little girls are made of. Patriarchy.

Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails

@cecil hungry No no, you're right! I just always resented the fact that I, who am awesome, was supposedly made out of the less awesome ingredients (because patriarchy, as you say!), so for my name I combined the best ingredients -- I preferred spice to snips, but snails and puppy dog tails won over sugar and everything nice.

cecil hungry

@Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails Oh good. I had one of those moments like when you're about to say a word and suddenly realize you've only ever read it and never heard it pronounced. But yes, I have some spice but there's not a lot of sugar or nice in me :)

the angry little raincloud

You want crazy, fucked-up, poor, psycho-sexual drama land? Talk to any humanities PhD candidate writing a dissertation.(Maybe science people, too. I don't know: they get bigger fellowships, work in labs so aren't totally alone, and thus seem slightly more sane.)

faience

@the angry little raincloud You can add social science in there. And man all we do is talk about said drama...

Blondsak

"...I was making the stupidest, fucking personal decisions anybody has ever made. I feel like that, more than anything, is a tribute to how stubborn I was about wanting to be a writer, because so much of my life was really quite a mess. But I really wanted it. I wanted it so much that, despite myself, I managed to get work done."

I... don't really get this? As someone who does my best writing when emotionally fucked up and in dumb situations, I don't see how being able to write while making stupid decisions is a "tribute to how stubborn [she] was about wanting to become a writer." I guess I just don't understand how being fucked up is a testament my drive to be anything, besides fucked up. Okay, yes, I get the gist - that she somehow managed to do it while making bad decisions elsewhere in her life - but I still don't see how that makes her ability to write at that time any more profound than when her life is not fucked up.

sevanetta

@Gussie Fink-Nottle Yeah, I wrote way more when I was a ball of anxiety. I also felt more like writing poems. Now I'm happy, I... just don't have the drive to create fiction? or poems? I tend more towards non-fiction anyway. But My Nigel is the same, he wrote more when his anxiety wasn't very well managed.

Linette

I do not understand this vitriol toward Elizabeth Gilbert. I mean, yes, she is totally melodramatic. Absolutely. But she seems self-aware of her own melodrama and kind of embarrassed by it, and she often talks about trying to get the hell over it, and she most certainly doesn't expect anyone else to indulge her in it.

I'm sure she would be less annoying if she weren't so open about ALL THE FEELINGS SHE FEELS but that's kind of what I like about her. I like hearing a writer say they're kind of embarrassed about the short stories they wrote at the beginning of their career. I like her total honesty about being a young writer trying to imitate other, better writers, and that she'll look back at the first book she ever published and basically say, "Yeah, that happened largely because I was trying to be Annie Proulx. Like a stupid kid. Which is what I was."

I don't know. I like her. Elizabeth Gilbert: totally okay person in my book. I hope I'm not alone in this.

Ellie

@Linette No, I feel the same way and I'm glad you agree! Honestly, I loved Eat, Pray, Love, even though I'm a "serious literature person." I also love her nonfiction book about marriage. I like her, I think she's a good writer, and while melodramatic, I agree she seems self-aware. It's all ok by me.

Blondsak

@Linette I don't have anything but neutral opinions on this woman, having read none of her books or watched any interviews, etc., but I think @jesslyn upthread put it just right, at least as far as this tidbit goes, when she wrote, "It's almost like she's advocating for not being dramatic in the most dramatic way possible." I'm sure she's an okay lady, but I do agree with that sentiment.

queenofbithynia

@Linette Yeah, I don't have even a little bit of interest in reading anything of hers but her self-presentation in this interview is completely unobjectionable and kind of engaging. There was nothing hateful in there, and I hate easy. She is also right about men's magazines being all about ties and moisturizer, not great journalism, and people can't say that often enough.

Linette

@Gussie Fink-Nottle You know, I would actually agree with @jesslyn on that too. I just don't find it all that objectionable.

I think I'm sort of surprised because one of the things I enjoy about 'Pinners is that a lot of us are kind of melodramatic? And aware of it? And like to make fun of it? I'm sort of surprised that this is Her Big Condemning Trait, the being melodramatic in a self-aware fashion. If she was melodramatic and expected all of us to confirm her melodrama as reality, then I'd totally get it.

But then again, sometimes people just find other people annoying. Which is fair enough. I just wanted to start a little thread of folks who think she's pretty cool. And maybe who liked her TED talk. Because I really liked her TED talk.

sceps yarx

@Linette Um, yeah, I actually really, really liked this article. I am also a person who is self-awarely melodramatic and I thought it was funny and really encouraging. Especially the part about not reading Teh Interwebz. And the part about working on the book you wish you could read. And actually all the parts.

Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails

@Linette I think for me it's not so much that she's melodramatic as that she doesn't seem to care who she hurts, even in retrospect. I would actually like her more if she were MORE self-aware. But that is merely my opinion!I would not tie her shoelaces together, if I had a chance.

Slutface

@Linette Because she's turned her drama into a major, major, cash machine. It doesn't ring true anymore.

Linette

@sceps yarx And the part where she speculates on what kind of sex Kermit and Miss Piggy would have. THAT PART ESPECIALLY.

Linette

@Slutface I . . don't follow. Like, the drama becomes untrue because other people were willing to throw down money to read about it? That's hardly her doing.

Slutface

@Linette The Eat, Pray, Love fashion line and home decor on QVC?

Linette

@Slutface Yeah, I understand she is profiting off of it, I'm just saying that I wouldn't expect her to say "No, I am going to refuse when people ask to give me tons of money to put my book's name on stuff." She didn't write the book to turn it into a franchise. She wrote it, people flipped out, she got offered a lot of money. I don't see where her integrity comes into question.

I mean, she's a writer. Even the most successful writers do not make crap-tons of money. I'd be socking it away myownself, had I the opportunity.

aphrabean

@Linette Yeah, she actually got paid to write the book, though! Which was not really disclosed in the book itself.

Linette

@aphrabean Yeah . . . it . . . was? There's a pretty extensive portion of that book where she talks about how she got the money to do the trip, and it is pretty much: I asked my publisher if I could do this book, they said yes, I am a lucky bastard that they said yes and that I could both have this experience and get paid for it. Like, she literally says that.

And hey, if someone came up to me and was like, "You just got a divorce. Want to go to several different countries and see if you can have some kind of spiritual epiphany and we'll pay you to write about it?" I would not be turning that action down.

Ellie

@Linette Yeah, it was extremely and obviously disclosed. The same is true of other things done by other writers, too. Like, with Elizabeth Wurtzel, whom I also love even though everybody else hates her, she says that she gets the money for her irresponsible and extravagant lifestyle by subsequently writing about it. I guess it's just me, but I usually feel like I *could* do these things and live this way and then write about it if I really wanted to, but I really really don't - I don't want to be a writer or describe my personal life for the world to critique. But I like reading it when other people do it, and I'm happy to give them the money to do it by buying their writing.

aphrabean

@Linette Oh really?! It's been a really long time since I read it, though I do not know how I missed that at all.

I would also not turn down money, but I probably wouldn't trust any spiritual epiphanies that came out of it.

aphrabean

@Ellie May I ask what you love about her? Genuinely, I would like to know. I read Prozac Nation in high school (when it first came out, to indicate how old I am) and the occasional article, and she really matches Caitlin Flanagan or Katie Roiphe for making my blood pressure just spike.

themegnapkin

@Linette it totally was disclosed, and, I think, appropriate. Elizabeth Gilbert was an established writer by the time she went on the Eat, Pray, Love trip, I think it's pretty established for published and successful authors to get advances on their next book?
EPL resonated with me a lot, and I buy into the image of Elizabeth Gilbert that she presents in it. I do wonder, though, how would she have written it if things hadn't conveniently worked out for her? Like, no enlightenment in India, and no Felipe (or whatever his name is).

Briony Fields

@Linette I'm with you. I read EPL and the follow up, and I loved it. I thought she was really honest and remorseful about the problems she'd caused everyone and at least *seems* to have a good perspective about it and to have grown from it. I haven't read too many interviews, but in her books she seems very self aware. I think we can all relate to feeling dramatically distraught about our personal lives, and acknowledging the ensuing bad feelings/low self esteem does not mean that you are automatically declaring your problems to be WORSE THAN EVERYONE'S.

thebestjasmine

@Linette I understand why people find her annoying, but I don't get why "She made money off of her writing!" is one of those reasons.

Ellie

@aphrabean I also really like Katie Roiphe and Caitlin Flanagan, so I think it's just, different strokes for different folks.

aphrabean

@Ellie Well, there you go. Let's never start a book club! :)

packedsuitcase

@thebestjasmine I think that for me problem was a) there is a disconnect between doing something for yourself (trying for some spiritual awakening) and creating a product for mass consumption. I think the 'awakening' becomes forced when you're cognizant that somehow you have to turn your experience into something that will sell. b) I'm totally jealous that she got this trip financed (hey, I'll be honest!) and c) Hearing her in interviews...well, I hadn't actually read the book or seen the movie when I first began to hate her. I was watching an interview with her and she had the most condescending attitude towards the people asking her questions. "Well, *I* think *everybody* should go to India for a month, but if you poor people can't afford that, then I *guess* it would be okay to just *try* to meditate for 15 minutes, but *really* India is The Answer." Maybe not a direct quote, but that's the tone I got from her. Then I was trapped on a plane and the only thing they were showing was EPL and I thought it was awful.

But if her TED talk is good, I'd be willing to check it out and see if it changes my mind.

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@thebestjasmine Personally, I wouldn't at all ding her for THAT, although it is an ongoing big, stupid, sorta boring discussion in various arts arenas: filthy lucre: just HOW filthy is it, sellouts we can no longer talk to, etc. etc.

Apart from her twitchy writing style, which does not do it for me on any level, I think it's the concept that she sort of pitched this book on a process of enlightenment and got the advance for it and doesn't that sort of weight the scales in terms of attaining clarity. Like, what if she'd gone through the whole shebang and nothing had come of it. That's a book as well, sure, although maybe not as marketable. So from where I sit there are certain existing pressures that sort of compel the book to come out a certain way and I don't find that very useful or illuminating or honest.

I also read Committed as part of my book club and wanted to throw it hard against the wall.

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@packedsuitcase Twinsies. I'm also supremely uncomfortable with the colonialist thread of nice white lady goes to developing world, is helped by native peoples to a more thorough understanding of her nice white ladyness.

packedsuitcase

@Super Nintendo Chalmers Agreed! Because, you know, the natives are so much closer to nature and have all the answers us Westerners have pushed aside in favour of modernization.

Though, I'm reading the interview, and I will say that I kind of love this part: "I’ve always been really surprised—and I really remain very surprised—at people who don’t think they have the right to do their work, or feel like they need a permission slip from the principal to do it, or who doubt their voice. I’m always like, What? What? Fucking do it! Just fucking do it! What’s the worst that could happen?! You fucking fail! Then you do it again and you wear them down and they get sick of rejecting you. And they get tired of seeing your letters and they just give up. They don’t have any choice. So part of it was real confidence, and part of it was fake confidence, and part of it was insecurity. It was a combination of all them."

It's kind of liberating. What's the worst that can happen? I fucking fail. Well, okay, then. Let's get started.

whateverlolawants

Elizabeth Gilbert aside (I have no real opinion on her), there is some truth to be gleaned from this. What I choose to take from it is that I should write more! November is a notoriously bad month for retail employees to take on a big project, though. But still.

sceps yarx

@Linette Um, yeah, I actually really, really liked this article. I am also a person who is self-awarely melodramatic and I thought it was funny and really encouraging. Especially the part about not reading Teh Interwebz. And the part about working on the book you wish you could read. And actually all the parts.

sceps yarx

@Linette Um, yeah, I actually really, really liked this article. I am also a person who is self-awarely melodramatic and I thought it was funny and really encouraging. Especially the part about not reading Teh Interwebz. And the part about working on the book you wish you could read. And actually all the parts.

sceps yarx

@Linette Um, yeah, I actually really, really liked this article. I am also a person who is self-awarely melodramatic and I thought it was funny and really encouraging. Especially the part about not reading Teh Interwebz. And the part about working on the book you wish you could read. And actually all the parts.

Teeth and Claws

Get rid of your fucked-up emotional psychosexual dramas, seriously, they are revolting (and afterward you'll have more time to write).

redheaded&crazy

I enjoyed the part where she ate like twenty pizzas in Naples. That's on my bucket list for sure.

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie The praying I could live without.

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie The love I AM living without.

*sobs*

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie You're going to look back on these comments as stupid fucking decisions.

redheaded&crazy

This is all going on my nanowrimo word count.

melis

@redheaded&crazie I really love you.

PistolPackinMama

@redheaded&crazie This made me lose my composure in the library. It's hard to try to look dignified while choking on snickers.

@melis the HFC is moderated by RH&C. It's like a surreal metacommentary fest in your inbox all day over there.

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama Well, I suppose it's not really surreal, since it makes perfect sense. It just is perfectly sensible... and also eccentric.

melis

@PistolPackinMama HFC? High...fructose...cabinets?

redheaded&crazy

@melis the return of regular melis! This comment warmed my hearts all the way to my toes.

HFC actually stands for high falootin' cunts but i would like to hear more about these cabinets.

Slutface

It's okay to like this woman. It's okay not to like this woman.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Waking up this morning was a challenge; I was still in a haze from the popular anti-histamine drug I ingested the night before. I felt her get up before I heard the familiar notes of her alarm.

For a few minutes, I was alone in my fog, but she came back again and snuggled in. “I don’t want to get up,” she said in a husky morning voice.

“I don’t either,” I replied, every syllable a chore for my tongue.

I didn’t lie, exactly; it was true that I didn’t want to get up, but I didn’t want to encourage her to get back under the covers with me. Her words from two nights ago, though shouted in the heat of an argument, still stung.

Her dramatic exit from the house that night – “I hate you,” she said as she slammed the door and walked into the rain in her sweatpants and micro-down coat – has been burned into my memory and flashes behind my eyelids every time she kisses me.

After she had gone, I finally got up and turned on the shower. The naked vulnerability of showering felt refreshing. I was finally alone and able to digest my feelings.

“Oh, it’s November,” I thought while massaging the shampoo into my mess of blonde hair. “That’s perfect! I’ll do NaNoWriMo and write about my feelings. It can’t be that hard to squeeze a measly 1,000 words out of those per day.”

Breakfast was quick, a simple bowl of shredded wheat cereal while the puppy gnawed on the hem of my jeans. I put the dog in his kennel with a treat and started the walk to work, thrilled to have a goal to focus on.

The golden fallen leaves were trampled down from the trick-or-treaters from the night before, and instead of the delightful crunch I’d gotten from them in the previous weeks, they greeted me with a soggy smush.

After the morning meeting and a mandatory run through of my inbox, I hit the Internet. A cursory glance at the Hairpin mentioned NaNoWriMo and I clicked on the link.

But oh, oh no. It was a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert, the same one who eats, prays and loves her way from a pit of self-destruction to the apex of self-involvement. The same Elizabeth Gilbert who caused my mother – my mother, who thinks Italy is the best place for food in the world and that prayer can solve nearly anything – to scoff and ask, “What are her problems again? She has too many boyfriends?” when we watched that movie.

This is the same author whose narcissist tone and whose worldview, which is suspiciously shaped in an Elizabeth Gilbert-shaped seeing scope, caused me to drop her book in the first couple of chapters. I hate leaving a book unread.

“Ugh. UGH,” I wrote, feeling completely validated in my attempts at clever scorn.

But a piece of my conscience wiggled uncomfortably, because she did have a point, didn’t she? I mean, it’s hard to write when you’ve got crazy shit going on in your life. It’s hard to give your characters and storyline the attention they need and deserve when you can’t even make sense of the plot in your own life.

“Oh god,” I thought seconds after reading other comments. “You are criticizing her for thinking the same thoughts you were thinking this morning in the shower.”

Did I need to get out of my own head, pull it out of the pool of self-examination, and check out the other situations around me? Maybe. But would that help me with my problems? I’m not entirely sure my problems were caused by my own unhappiness, like Gilbert’s were.

Is it my fault my girlfriend hurled incredibly hurtful words at me the other night, just because I told her I would never raise a child in the popular church I grew up in, because its dogma doesn’t value gay people or women? Is it my fault I had no idea she felt so strongly about that church all of a sudden, enough to tell me I’m a joke for not having a religion?

Am I a joke? Have I worked myself into a corner with my argumentative nature? Do I really believe what I said about that religion, or was I being contrary for the sake of being contrary?

Suddenly, the idea of eating bowls and bowls of pasta doesn’t sound so bad, nor does traveling to foreign countries to glean how they live and how I could apply that to my life. I want to escape this problem, but I can’t, because I have a job and a house and a dog and a girlfriend who won’t stop apologizing to me.

She said she didn’t mean those things, she wasn’t sure why they came out of her mouth. She doesn’t hate me, she doesn’t think I’m a joke, she said.

I don’t know if I believe her.

I’m angry, I realize. I’m angry at her for saying those things, I’m angry at myself for letting the conversation get so out of control so quickly. But most of all, I’m angry at myself for staying in this relationship when it keeps hurting me.

This train of thought makes me sad, but, since it’s easier for me to be mad than sad, I decide to get mad at someone who won’t leave me, who can’t hurt me, who won’t pluck at the naked heart I’ve exposed to her over the years.

Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ll be mad at Elizabeth Gilbert, I decide, and all those who defend her. Who better to feel the sharp edges of my wrath than a famous author who couldn’t have fewer fucks to give about what I think about her writing?

But my resolve starts to fade. Do I really dislike her that much? No. Do I begrudge her the success she’s achieved by filling a niche in the market? No.

I’ll stay mad at myself. I’m the villain today.

(1,000. BOOM.)

Cat named Virtute

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Damn, girl.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Cat named Virtute Roughly 35 percent of that is true.

Fat Apollo

Man, every single time I STILL think, "Wow, Darlene from Roseanne!" If only Sara Gilbert had starred in the movie adaptation instead of Julia Roberts.

vunder

You know what's a good piece on writing and struggling personally and shit? This one about Hilary Mantel by Lisa MacFarquhar. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/10/15/121015fa_fact_macfarquhar

Chrestomanci

@vunder Thank you! I just finished reading Wolf Hall and this article was exactly what I needed to read.

datalass

@vunder I really wanted the 'Pin to post about that piece because there was so much in it to discuss.

aphrabean

@vunder OH, I like this! Thank you!

Miss Maszkerádi

Day One and I`m already a thousand words behind, and my co-author hasn`t emailed me back. The insane feminist trashy Polish historical romance novel might not happen.... :-(((

Regina Phalange

Personally, I don't break up the marriages until AFTER I've submitted the drafts. Priorities, people.

(Elizabeth! I defend you, but I am TIRED. As the old saying goes, if you don't want people to throw shit at you, don't crap in their hands!)

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