Tag Archives: eat pray love

Tell Me a Story About…

Watercolor by Victoria Beckert

While I didn’t love Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage (read my review here), I really liked this one activity she described doing with her lover Felipe. No, not that kind of activity; it’s more a storytelling exercise.

She’d ask him to tell her a personal memory built around a trigger word, a random one from the top of her head. When she asked for a story about fish, Felipe told a poignant tale about fishing trips with his father when he was six.

I wanted to try this out so I asked hubby to give me a random word. He said, “Socks.” I immediately went to a memory of when I fled Vietnam at the end of the war and my mother said I could bring only the bare essentials. I brought one change of clothes but forgot socks.

So I wore the pair I had on when we left—white bobby socks with a red flower embroidered on the cuff—for over two weeks, until they turned brown with dirt and stiff with sweat. They could stand upright by themselves. I eventually ditched them somewhere and went bare in my Mary Janes the rest of the way.

Hubby and I used several more trigger words and told each other stories, some about things we hadn’t thought about for a long time. It proved such an interesting exercise, I decided to try it out here.

Tell me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “socks.” It doesn’t have to be a long or life-changing tale. Any random thought or memory qualifies. I just want us to flex our creative muscles and learn fun things about each other.

If I get a lot of comments, this might be a regular feature, maybe once a month or bi-monthly, with a different trigger word each time. But meanwhile, let’s talk about socks!

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Book Review: Elizabeth Gilbert’s COMMITTED

After reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love three years ago, I became almost evangelistic about it, discussing it nonstop with others, buying copies for friends, etc. Wish I could do the same for her follow-up, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage (out today). Because I think Gilbert is such an engaging writer, it pains me to say I didn’t love this book. **Mild spoilers ahead if you haven’t read EPL.**

The events here follow what happened at the end of EPL, specifically her meeting her Brazilian lover Felipe in Bali and their pledging love to each other with promises to never get married. (Both are shell-shocked survivors of divorce.)

At the beginning of Committed, they’ve been living together in Philadelphia when the Department of Homeland Security throws a monkey wrench into their non-wedded bliss by denying Felipe re-entry into the U.S. after an overseas trip. A sympathetic officer says the fastest way for Felipe to get a permanent visa is for the couple to marry.

Filled with dread, they nevertheless apply for the necessary papers then spend almost a year traveling through Southeast Asia (where the dollar stretches farther) while awaiting approval. Gilbert also uses the time to obsessively research the history of marriage and its different customs throughout the world in order to better understand the institution and hopefully reduce her fear of it.

Gilbert’s conversational style is winning; she’s smart, funny and not afraid to reveal her deepest fears and flaws. She still comes across as someone I’d love to have lunch with. But while EPL is charming because it’s her personal story, the author spends much of Committed delving into the origins of marriage, drumming up everyone from Greek philosophers to early Christian leaders to feminists, causing entire chapters to read textbook-y. The conclusion she finally reaches about marriage is interesting, a perspective I hadn’t previously considered, but I wish the focus stayed more on her relationship with Felipe.

Nerd verdict: Not totally Committed to this

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Javier Bardem Will LOVE Julia Roberts

Javier Bardem_lI’m trying not to drool as I write this. Variety reports that Javier Bardem has been cast in the movie version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s monster bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love as “Felipe” (his real name is Jose), the irresistible man she meets in Bali. Julia Roberts had already been cast as Gilbert, with Richard Jenkins playing her friend Richard from Texas (who answered a few questions for me about that here).

Though Bardem is not old enough (he’s younger than Roberts when Felipe is, according to the book, significantly older than Gilbert), he would be a compelling reason for Gilbert to break her self-imposed celibacy. Viewers would nod their heads and say, “It’s okay, you tried but we understand.”

Any other EPL fans out there? What do you think of this casting? (UPDATE: Click here for my review of Gilbert’s follow-up, Committed.)

Richard Jenkins to EAT, PRAY, LOVE with Julia Roberts

eat-pray-love1I’m one of the gazillion people who loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love so I’ve been keeping tabs on the movie adaptation to see if it’s getting the proper care as it makes its trek through development hell. So far, despite the little turnaround problem with Paramount, it looks good to me.

You’ve probably heard about Julia Roberts playing Gilbert. Though Roberts is a little older than Gilbert was during the events in the book (41 to the author’s early 30s), she still looks great and her smart-girl charm seems in line with the witty intelligence Gilbert exudes in her TV talk show appearances.

richard-jenkins-0109-450pwThis week, the trades report that Richard Jenkins has been cast as Richard from Texas, someone Gilbert befriended in India who ended up enlightening her with his insight and simple truths. I was able to reach the real Richard to get a quick reaction to Jenkins’s casting.

PCN: How do you feel about Richard Jenkins playing you?

Richard from Texas: I’m not familiar with this Jenkins fellow. Thought Dennis Quaid would be a good fit for the part but who knows what their vision for the movie is.

PCN: Jenkins is a fine actor who was Oscar-nominated this year for The Visitor, which I recommend since it’s a charming little film. He doesn’t look much like you but you’ll be in good hands talent-wise. What do you think about your movie self hanging out with Julia Roberts?

Richard from Texas: Julia Roberts seems like a nice person; I could hang with her and hubby and kids. Twins are so much fun, got a pair of 11-year-old identical twins in my life, wonderful to spend time with them, they are so sweet. As far as my movie self goes—it should be interesting.

PCN: Are there any obvious similarities between Roberts and the Elizabeth Gilbert you know?

Richard from Texas with Gilbert (from his website)

Richard from Texas with Gilbert (from his website)

Richard from Texas: I don’t know Julia Roberts and Liz Gilbert is my dear friend as well as a private person. You’ll have to ask her that question.

Since Gilbert is working to finish her next book, Matrimonium, for a 2010 release, it’s not likely I’ll be able to reach her. But I’ll keep tabs on the movie and keep you updated on any news. (UPDATE: Read my review of her follow-up, now titled Commited, here.)