My evening with Elizabeth Gilbert

The queue of women (and a few brave men) was already nearly round the block at Cadogan Hall when the car pulled up and out popped Elizabeth Gilbert.  Its hard not to recognize her blond silhouette from a mile away after all the countless interviews she's done since Eat, Pray, Love skyrocketed her to fame.  My spot in the queue happened to be next to the stage door.  Our eyes briefly met just after she got out of the taxi as her eyes grazed through the crowd.  I gave her a quick smile and she gave one back.  I could tell she was a tad nervous having to walk right through the hoards of women in order to get into the hall.  She gave everyone a gracious smile though and said, "Thanks everyone for waiting" and then went in.  It felt almost surreal getting to see her in person but also natural like I was seeing an old friend.

After waiting in numerous lines of people we were allowed into the Hall.  There were so many women there, all touched by Liz's book.  I didn't feel so bad I had gone alone for this reason.  It also helped that I was next to some chatty gals who instantly put me at ease.

The simple hall had a small church like stage, set with what looked like a cafe table with water and two chairs- one for the interviewer Paul Holdengräber and one for Liz.  It looked like we'd be eavesdropping on two friends meeting for tea.  I liked the intimate feel of that.

When Liz and Paul eventually came out and started talking you were instantly drawn into their conversation and put at ease.  He asked Liz about her early work and life before delving into Eat, Pray, Love and Committed.  Everything revealed was something new to me which was amazing considering all the interviews with her I've seen and read.

Elizabeth's ease with herself, her palpable happiness with life, her intellect (she's very well read) and charm were incredibly inspiring.  The entire evening was spent hearing women nod in agreement to practically everything.  I wish I had taken notes so I could remember all the profound things that were said last night.  All I can do is take with the memory of how I felt.  At the end I felt inspired and wanting to do better in my life.  I know that I was meant to be there in that audience.

The evening ended far too quickly.  I rushed out at the end so I could get a spot in line for the book signing.  Pictures weren't allowed but I didn't care.  I got to meet Elizabeth Gilbert, tell her how wonderful it was to meet her and get some signed books.  I only wish I got to talk to her longer, but based on the 500+ people behind me, I was grateful for the few seconds I had.

Experiences like last night (I'm still beaming), make me incredibly grateful to live in this city.  It was such a wonderful amazing evening and one that I'll remember forever.  Liz Gilbert deserves all the success and happiness that has and will come to her.

'One is never too poor to have a story to tell'....
'Growing up is the process of finding ones' appetite'..
"I'm a root vegetable now. I'm a nice turnip" - Liz Gilbert describing her move from globe-trotter to gardener.

(Quotes from last night)

Paul Holdengräber and Elizabeth Gilbert

Highlights of the discussion are available on video via the intelligence squared website.

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