A good friend of mine sent me the book EAT LOVE PRAY by Elizabeth Gilbert several months back. Many friends had recommended it as an excellent read, so I dove in for some inspiration. I loved the first chapter. The only thought that recurred in my brain was: this should be MY book with MY story! And so I read on.
I think the first time it occurred to me that something was upsetting me was the whole ashram thing. A guru who you follow like the Northern Star but you have never met? I know it is pretty hip to be into yoga and have a guru. Her motivation for spending months at a specific ashram, where she never did meet her special guru who guides her life, seemed insincere.
But by the time she got to Indonesia I did not even want to finish the book. I did not like her at all. This is what went through my head: "You selfish, self-serving bitch!" She came off as feeling superior to the Balinese people, and the purchase of the house for her friend seemed to be nothing more than a pat on her back on what a wonderful and generous person she was.
I was actively working on a memoir. After finishing EAT LOVE PRAY I have never touched my notes again. There are too many "I's". Italy, India and Indonesia. No problem. I, I, I, I, I, I........me only and me first, problem. I now think I would rather write my story from a fictional vantage point in order to not appear to be boasting about what a wonderful person I am. I, unlike Elizabeth Gilbert, do not have such self confidence and I do not think I am a wonderful person. I doubt my writing would sound as self involved as hers but she has scared me off my memoir.
Recently I read that the divorce that was so difficult for her was her doing. She cheated on her husband, divorced him, and Disney paid her a fortune to travel around the world to write about her recuperation from her self-imposed depression. My husband of twenty years died after suffering a horrible cancer, and all I got was a note to show up to work the day after his funeral and people avoiding me on the street because I was damaged. I had to sell my house and move away to try to recuperate and survive the hideous ordeal. Resentment? You bet. Am I jealous? Of course! She is making a fortune. But I do not dislike the book because I am jealous, i was hoping to be inspired to write my story too. Instead, I ended up with memoirphobia and the fear of being seen as a braggart. If anyone wants to read her book, I have a copy to give away...if I do not burn it first in hopes of a reincarnation of my own lost soul.