Thursday, February 5, 2009

Walking and listening

Tonight is my reading with Patricia Harrelson at Books Inc. in the Castro at 7:30 p.m. Come by if you can!

I finally finished listening to Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. You know it's a good sign when you're in the middle of listening to a book on tape on your ipod and you can't wait to get out for another walk to continue listening. Elizabeth Gilbert's mellifluous, smoky voice was part of my life for weeks, and I'll miss her.

Bottom line, she's a very good writer. I enjoyed her witty insights into life. There were times when I felt she lingered too long on some of her twisting thoughts (especially with some of the god talk ... yes, I know, there is "pray" in the title, should have been a warning)--and that would be when I'd still feel the rhythm and tone of her voice but drift off a bit and focus instead on the trees, the car, my dog on a leash.

In the first part, "Italy," I noticed that as she talked about her depression she said she tried "everything" to get out of it before succumbing to drug therapy: meditation, hanging around positive people, exercise, prayer ... but I noticed her list was lacking one thing my mother always told me lifted depression: helping other people. When I was a teenager slouching around the house, bemoaning one thing or another, Mom would say, "Go volunteer somewhere, help some people, get outside of your pitiful self."

Or something like that.

That's what I wanted to say to Liz at times as she spoke into my ears. But listening to a book on tape is not a dialogue. Later, though, when she was in Bali in the last part of the book, it seems that is one thing she did learn. Of course nothing is as simple as it sounds, and I enjoyed the surprises in that section as she tried to navigate the cultural and personality differences between herself and the woman she was attempting to assist.

I loved the end of the book, the last image, the last line. It made me smile in a weepy little way as I walked down the sidewalk toward home.
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