Yesterday afternoon, as I scavenged my daughter’s perfume shelf, trying to find a fitting fragrance. I wondered why, for the first time since before my children were born (over 18 years ago) did I desire to smell of something other than me.
After a lovely lunch with a good friend down The Beach Hut, along Southend seafront. I enjoyed a leisurely bath reading one of my favourite books – Eat, Pray, Love. I realised that my need to smell nice arrived, because I intended to make my way to the Southbank Centre in London to be in the audience for ‘A Conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert.’
My favourite Writer. In the UK, on a whirlwind book tour, promoting her new novel: The Signature of All Things; a sweeping historical saga, spanning the globe, bringing alive the universe. Or so I found out, during her velvety smooth reading of an extract from the book, at the end of the evening.
Arriving on the banks of the Thames, the view in front of me was of a buzzing, thriving, street food market. Enlivened and free, the smells wafted, curling through the air, tenderly caressing my nostrils, as I listened to the conversations of Vendor to Patron.
I wandered its little lanes, glorifying in the views of the Millennium Wheel and Big Ben in the distance.
‘I love London,’ my thought. This throbbing, vibrant city. The capital of my country. Momentarily patriotic.
I felt like a schoolgirl on a first date – a notion slightly silly to me, as this was a person whom I’d never met and a lady to-boot.
As I sat perched in my seat with iPhone in hand, taking photos of the stage. The person who inspires me most, entered the space. I was interested to see if she sounded the same as she does online, if she came over different, than what comes through in her books and if, from my point of view, she indulged in interesting conversation.
She did, she was and her command of the Q & A at the close of the session was assertive, yet open.
I had decided to leave without having my dog eared, yellowing Eat, Pray, Love book signed. Looking at the length of the queue and knowing my husband was on his way to pick me up.
Yet I decided to stay.
Liz Gilbert, quick penned her way through the signing – interestingly enough though I noticed she still had time to speak to everyone in front of her.
I took out the little heart shaped stone in my purse – May Zhong, a young fb friend, had encouraged me to take something to Liz. “Take one of your books.” She said. The notion of handing one of my manuscripts across the desk to this literary goddess, made my belly flip.
As I hunted my house, I came across the little heart shaped stone, given to me out of love by my Son and I knew this was the item to give to her. With the words of May in my head, the love of my Son held in my hand and my own feelings stirring in my belly, as I reached her a little part of me wanted to cry, to share with her – all our love. Knowing there was but a moment to speak, I kept repeating in my head the words I wanted to say.
I found this very strange – having this feeling about a person, fundamentally a stranger but her comment to me – enabled me to feel included, part of her world and a friend. If only in reality, just for a moment.
I left a little light-headed, a little in awe. A goodness warmed my belly, as I thought of the social network sharing that had allowed me to include May, for just a few short hours to a meeting she was not yet to have.
Liz Gilbert’s words today on her fan page, said everything about the evening:
I too had felt the experience…
Who have you shared your love with?
The photo above is from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Fan Page.