Day 195 / 366
I tried not to like Elizabeth Gilbert. Happily, I failed.
I haven’t read “Eat, Pray, Love,” the book that made Gilbert famous. But I’ve seen enough references to it that before I ever heard her speak, I thought Gilbert would be insufferable. Overly earnest, taking herself too seriously, philosophical to the point of ridiculousness. What gave me that idea? Nothing specific, just a general feeling I got from reading bits about the book here and there.
After hearing her interviewed at length on three radio programs - most recently for “On Being” just the other day - I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve never been more wrong about a celebrity. Gilbert is warm, hilarious and, near as I can tell from such limited exposure, genuine.
What I really appreciate about her, though, is that she thinks that for a lot of people, the old line “Follow your passion” is crap. If you don't have a particular passion, she says, where do you go from there? In effect, she says, screw passion. I can’t remember, but she may have used those exact words in one of the interviews.
Instead, she says, follow your curiosity. Most people are curious about something. That resonated with me. I enjoy a lot of things - photography, having written, worrying about the Cubs - but I can’t say I’m passionate about any of them. While I may not have a passion, I’m curious about any number of things:
>> What would happen if I really buckled down and wrote something, rather than tweeting my way through too much of my 366-day “writing” project? Don’t get me wrong - a well-crafted tweet is writing. It’s just not very much writing.
>> What would happen if I started photographing Los Angeles inspired by the minimalist photographers I follow on Instagram?
>> What is wrong with this country that we still deal with race and guns the way we do? I've been reading up on this, and while I still think that most of us are people of good will, our situation is disturbing as hell.
>> People say you can’t exercise your way to serious weight loss, but could I take off those last 15 pounds if I spent more time on my bike? I put in 45 miles over the weekend, and the evidence suggests that at the very least, it’d help.
So thanks in part to Elizabeth Gilbert, my curiosity is piqued. Let’s see what happens from here.
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