Heather Kristian Strang | Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat. Pray. Love.


06 Apr / Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat. Pray. Love.

Before Oprah, before the New York Times bestseller list and certainly before every woman in the world wanted to take a trip to Italy, India and Indonesia – I read Eat. Pray. Love.

I saw Elizabeth Gilbert speak at Powell’s books when Eat. Pray. Love. first came out. I wanted to be just like her. Seriously. I even sent her an email asking her to be my mentor (I figured it was worth a shot!). She actually responded, laughing at the thought that anyone would want her to be their mentor.

All the same, she’s a mentor (in theory) for any writer.
And last Thursday, she came to Portland, once again, only to a much bigger audience at the Arlene Schnitzer concert hall.

This time, she was equally amazing, radiant and hilarious. The audience spent half the time laughing. Love her! She also took a stand on a topic that I (and many women) often face alone – that of being a woman who chooses not to procreate. But now, next time a woman looks at me confused, I’ll tell her to ask Elizabeth about it. She had a far more eloquent way of explaining that some of us are not here in this life to procreate – we are here to do other things. And that’s okay. Go E.G!

In addition, I had the pleasure of seeing the poet, Lucille Clifton, speak tonight. At 71, she is as incredible as ever. She made us laugh, but most importantly, she made us think.

Neither of these two events could have been possible without the fabulous Literary Arts in Portland, Ore. They regularly bring world-renowned authors and poets to our city. For that, I am so very grateful. Both women inspired and encouraged me, simply by their presence.

Have you seen Elizabeth Gilbert or Lucille Clifton? Or do you have writers that you wish were your mentors? Leave a comment here.

Happy writing!
Heather 🙂

By Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized
  • Anonymous

    As a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert and also as a woman who has chosen not to procreate, I’d be interested in what she said about that issue–can you summarize?


  • HStrang

    Yay, sisters unite! My friends are all having babies like crazy, so it’s nice to connect with other women, who like myself, Gilbert and you, have chosen not to reproduce.

    Basically, Gilbert said this whole notion that women need to have children so they can have someone take care of them when they’re old is, well, weird. She believes that perhaps in other lifetimes she was a mother and so in this one, she is perfectly fine not having a child. She doesn’t feel women should be condemned for this by other women. (Amen!)

    Gilbert also mentioned that the world needs us non-mothers, to keep our mothered friends sane and help out with the kids. 🙂 It sounds like this topic may be covered in her next book, which I would love to see.

    It was interesting, as the energy in the room changed when she switched to this topic. I was cheering the whole time, because I feel like this is an issue women, as a whole need to address. We need to stop judging one another and acting sheepish if we don’t want to have children.

    Hope this helps – it was an amazing talk!
    -Heather 🙂

  • Anonymous

    It helps a lot. I just received news over the weekend that a 41 year old friend of mine (I’ve just turned 39, which I think makes me like exactly Liz Gilbert’s age) is pregnant and it was strangely like a kick in the gut. I’m happy for her, but it also felt a bit like “well, another one bites the dust!”


  • HStrang

    OMG – I SO know that feeling. They are never the same after it, are they? I know, I know. 🙂 Lately, I’ve been meeting amazing women, start becoming friends with them and then they get pregnant. Damn. I figure in about 16 years they will be back, barring they don’t have any more kiddos.

    Thanks for the comments. Stay in touch.

  • Rock and Roll Mama

    Wow. I really enjoy your style…I just picked up “EPL” the other day, and am excited to begin it.

    Lucille Clifton teaches (maybe taught, not sure) st St. Mary’s College in MD, one of the schools I attended. I saw her read many times, and each was such a gift. What a spirit.

    I have three kids, but I hear you on the people changing after becoming moms thing…that’s actually my greatest challenge right now, keeping some sense of myself as a creative being while in those baby trenches. Emily Giffin’s “Baby Proof” is an interesting (albeit fictitious) read on a woman who divorces rather than succumb to her husband’s wish to have children…she says she wrote it in part due to the extreme pressure and judgment society lays on women who choose not to be breeders. (My word, not hers…)

    Thanks for what you’re doing, and have fun at Willamette! I wish I could go, but I’m east coast and hitting Backspace the week after.

  • Farmer de Ville

    Okay, confession time…

    My significant other and I are generally polar opposites in our reading. I’m likely to be leafing through an account of ayahuasca shamanism in the Amazon basin. She is likely to be working her way through the latest iteration of the Oprah Winfrey book club….

    And then the other evening, finding my bookshelf all read through, I grabbed her copy of “Eat. Pray. Love.” And I was sucked in almost immediately…


  • Lisa

    not to burst anyones bubble or anything but Elizabeth Gilbert is expecting a child in November, 2008. I just heard her speak in Indianapolis. She was fabulous! I guess it just goes to show that we all must be open to new possibilities. She looked really wonderful to be about to have a child in one month. I agree though that regardless of whether a woman decides to have a child or not, we are all act as mothers/sisters/daughters to one another at times in our lives.

  • HStrang

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. You are right – one can never know what the future will bring. I just had an intuitive tell me that I will have a little girl in a few years. And that’s DEFINITELY not on my agenda. 🙂 Can’t wait to read Gilbert’s next book and see her speak again. I believe she is coming to Portland again soon…

    -Heather 🙂

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