You’ve said that you wanted to write a book about a woman whose life is saved by her work. Alma’s life is saved by her love of botany. Has being a writer saved your life in any sense?
EG: Saved it and defined it. The struggle for meaning and purpose is a big part of the human experience. I’m lucky enough to be alive in a moment in time where a girl can dream of being a novelist. And I’m lucky enough to have had a family who provided no obstacles to obtaining that dream. From earliest memory, that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be, and it’s been this thread of meaning that’s woven my life together. When other parts of my life have unraveled, the writing seemed to always be very steadfast. I know that I have a very different path than some other writers, for whom writing has produced nothing but suffering. That always makes me wonder why they want to keep doing it, instead of a vocation they love and enjoy! For me, it pleasurable. Even when it’s difficult and frustrating and puzzling, it still brings me meaning. And I still find it more interesting than just about anything else in the world.
For the full interview with Eat Pray Love’s Elizabeth Gilbert, click here.