Between Elizabeth Gilbert and Chastity

Reader, I have a problem. (OK, the first problem is that I just finished Jane Eyre, and it’s going to be difficult for me to restrain myself from gratuitous, compulsive use of that horrible addressing the “reader” device, but really I should just replace it with “Peter” because as of this writing he is the only person who knows of this blog. I’ll get better, I promise.)

Anyway, the other night I heard Elizabeth Gilbert read from her new book, “Committed.” Peter, I fell in love with her. The woman is charming and funny and well-spoken on the subjects of relationships, writing and being a romantic disaster in one’s 20s–truly, the only three things I care to think about in life. As a consequence, I am devouring that new book. The problem is that it’s a book about marriage, and, after a string of romantic disappointments so close together I am beginning to contemplate my Hebrew School delinquency, marriage is the last thing I ought to be thinking about.

Additionally, I want to blog about my dating life, but I also think that perhaps the best thing I can do right now is hide under some soundproof adobe and take a vow of chastity until my 30th birthday.

Gilbert isn’t helping. I’m only halfway through the book, and frankly should have put it down on Thursday to focus on the several hundred pages I’m actually required to read (on subjects woefully less self-reflective). So far I don’t think it’s great. Janet Maslin was kinda right . At times it does read like an elaborately concocted, shoddily researched and highly self-indulgent vehicle for justifying the failure of her first marriage and the existence of her second.

But I’m sorry, Gilbert’s voice is hopelessly endearing and frequently her insights are spot-on. So spot-on, it kind of hurts. Such as her rant on infuation: what she calls the “most perilous aspect of human desire.” She cites research that humans are most vulnerable to infatuation during periods of instability: “The more unsettled and unbalanced we feel, the more quickly and recklessly we are likely (sic) fall in love.”

Which brings me back to the chastity vow. Having just moved across the country to begin a three-year masters program toward a degree (creative writing) that will situate me no closer to stability than a beat-up frisbee, the point in time when I won’t feel unsettled feels far beyond sight. So: I should probably stay celibate.

But: celibacy does not make a very entertaining blog. Stay tuned. I haven’t finished the book.


Filed under Love Life

3 responses to “Between Elizabeth Gilbert and Chastity

  1. Suzanne

    Beat up frisbees indeedy! Don’t go for celibacy because then you start having these overly obvious, and uncomfortable, freudian dreams, that your friends find disturbing when you tell them out loud.

    I’d say there has to be a realm in between marriage and celibacy that one aught to pursue. I’m excited for your journey!

    • I know (my mother just responded: celibate, really!?!), but I like to think in extremes. And I like to have weird Freudian dreams featuring obscure celebrites and tell my friends about them, so there ya go…

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