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Young, Drunk, & Literary

A book blog for drinker and readers.

Musings on Selfish Self-Love, or What Elizabeth Gilbert Has Taught Me

What I’m Drinking: cheap Riesling. It’s a solid white and tastes like adjusted expectations.

 

I would be remiss to not begin this post with the admission that I am, indeed, a straight, cis, white, college-educated woman who is adding yet another voice to the tangled and problematic web that is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love. However, I humbly offer these reactions and thoughts on certain aspects of her work, while recognizing completely that this memoir was faux-travel writing, and used people of color and their cultures as a removed and exotic-ised background. There’s a fantastic article articulating this in the Boston Review. (Y’all, the Boston Review is dope; just found it!!!)

Okay!! So, I finished college in May 2016. Within the next six or so months, all of my closest friends and I experienced varying degrees of romantic heartache. At one point in my life, I was so proud of finally getting over one particular breakup that I wrote down what I thought were the big steps, the ultimate truths that would always help me heal. When faced with my last breakup, I couldn’t find that damn paper and I never typed it into my phone or anything so like an IDIOT I had to reinvent the wheel.
Here are all of the steps I remember:
1. step one: Demonize the person you broke up with.
I know, harsh, right? Many of my friends have balked and resisted this one, but I SWEAR that if you don’t remind yourself of their flaws, regardless of which one of you initiated it or did something “wrong” or whatever, you will never never ever ever ever never ever get over them and that’s a promise. 
2. Re-read Eat Pray Love. Just do. It makes you feel good. She goes through a breakup, you’re going through a breakup, just read it.
3. don’t remember 🙂 but hey, that first step was gold. You’re welcome.
On to Liz, one of my idols.
I don’t tend to reread books often, because I’m addicted to acquiring new ones. Eat Pray Love is an exception. (So is The Little Prince, shoutout to Saint-Exupéry for this goodness).
Anyway, here are some passages I keep coming back to:
“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
“When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Beyond the lush language and appealing escapism this book purports/actually has, the first time I read it was the first time I encountered a lot of the radical self-acceptance and search for inner peace-type stuff Gilbert embraces in her writing. Her book is undeniably self-absorbed, but sometimes don’t we need a little dose of that to be able to give of ourselves? Selfish self-love. You gotta be selfish to end a dying relationship. You gotta love yourself with an intensity that pulls you up out of the darkness. It’s not always enough, it’s not always the answer. However, it might be the first step to getting through dark times. You’ll always be stuck with yourself, blah blah other platitudes, etc.
If you don’t love yourself right now, and I mean down to your toes, every frizzy hair on your head, crazy, giddy, can’t stop smiling because you’re so great and you get to hang out with yourself love, then let me love you! I’m a lover by nature.
Did I make a point here? Will I ever stop being self-conscious about my writing? Stay tuned.
xoxo,
Gossip Girl, I mean Jen

The Tolstoy Challenge

Anna Karenina is sheer perfection as a work of art. No European work of fiction of our present day comes anywhere near it. Furthermore, the idea underlying it shows that it is ours, ours, something that belongs to us alone and that is our own property, our own national ‘new word’ or, at any rate, the beginning of it.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

You know those books you’re supposed to read? That maybe, on some level, you even want to read, but are intimidated by?

For me, one of these is Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. I’m doing it. One of my best friends started reading it, so I recklessly committed to reading it and having a little baby book club as we read.

So far, I’m not avoiding it…I’m just…not reading it yet. Remember when I shared my trouble with reading these days? Anyway. I will start soon and it will be fantastic and I’ll let you all know how it goes! Wish me luck! Those Russian writers aren’t messing around.

“These violent delights have violent ends.” -Shakespeare, Westworld, Me

I have to read. I can’t read.

“So many books, so little time.”
― Frank Zappa

I have just started my first big-girl, full-time, 9-5 job. Isn’t is strange how sitting at a computer all day wears you out? I honestly love my job, an admittedly entry-level digital media position at a fantastic firm. The only downside is that at the end of the day, I’m too worn out to ever read!

I wish I could explain to you how many books I own. It’s truly, hopelessly, too many. I don’t have a library card yet, which is saving me from acquiring even more books I don’t have the desire or time to read, so at least there’s that?

Have any of you, dear readers, experienced/conquered this? I take lots of baths, but just want to close my eyes. I get into bed, but am more drawn to the passive pleasure of listening to a podcast. Help me!

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!

“Life is a Cabaret, old chum.”

-Liza Minelli

This is my very first post. Like, ever. I always avoided writing things that weren’t inspired by prompts and rules. But here we are! I hope you are humming to yourself as you read my title (for those unaware of the darkly fabulous musical/movie Cabaret, check it out!).

Let Me Entertain You-My Goals:

  • Let’s read and talk about some books! I like fiction, although I’ll indulge in the odd biography, especially if it’s scandalous. My reviews will mostly deal with the huge stack already on my nightstand/in my trunk/under my bed. Don’t judge. If you like to read things that make you think, feel, hope, dream, laugh, yell, cry, sigh, or drive you to (alleged) homicide, you’re my people. Welcome home.
  • If you’re always trying to incorporate book nerd stuff into daily life, same. I’ll write some stuff about literary things besides proper books. I do other things besides read. Sometimes.
  • Have fun? Yes, it’s a question?

There you have it. Always feel free to shoot me a comment, message, carrier pigeon, etc.

Cheers,

Jen

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