Funny how tiny decisions can change the course of your life.
Last week I glanced at the DVDs by the checkouts in Sainsbury’s and spied Eat Pray Love for the bargain price of £3. I dismissed the notion of buying it (I don’t have much money – why fritter it away on a DVD?). But then something told me to change my mind.
So I did.
In case you haven’t seen the film or read the book, Eat Pray Love is one woman’s account of her divorce and subsequent soul-searching trip to Italy, India and finally Bali, where of course, she ‘finds herself’ and falls in love (you could say, ‘Ah well, that’s movies for you,’ but the rather brilliant thing is, it’s a true story).
When I got home I curled up on the sofa and spent the next two hours happily engrossed in the film (feeling more and more inspired about travelling to Bali and meeting a gorgeous man with a gentle soul, just like Felipe).
Then something weird happened.
I was jolted from the film by the familiar smell of dad beside me (you know how some people have an indefinable smell?). It came upon me with no warning. I wasn’t imagining it. For a few seconds he was right there beside me. Time froze.
When I came to my senses and started to cry, he disappeared. I pulled myself together and watched the rest of the film…
An hour later, with the credits rolling, I shot to the computer to Google the author, Elizabeth Gilbert. It seemed imperative that she was still with Felipe. I started by looking her up on Wikipedia. It said nothing about her love life. Damn. So I went to her own website and read the bio section. There at the end were these brilliant words: ‘Elizabeth Gilbert lives in the small river town of Frenchtown, New Jersey, where she and her husband (more widely known as “That Brazilian Guy From EAT PRAY LOVE”) run a large and delightful imports store called Two Buttons.’
Hurrah! It was true! She was still with Felipe! (Important deduction: if it can happen to her, it can bloody well happen to me.)
It was roundabout now that I realised Elizabeth Gilbert and I have something in common. There are defining moments in everyone’s lives. We have both had ours. Hers occurred when she left her husband. Mine is occurring right now. Here the similarities end:
She got a bitter divorce and then had a rebound fling with some hunky actor. I on the other hand have just split up with my boyfriend and, if there are any gorgeous men within a 50-mile radius queuing up to have a fling with me, I’m not aware of them.
She had the advance from her book to support her. I can just about pay the bills each month.
She took off travelling in order to find herself. I need to get a job so I can move out from the flat I still share with my ex.
She rented a gorgeous home in Bali. I will probably have to move in with my mum or rent a dodgy over-priced room in some nutter’s house.
She fell in love with a sexy Brazilian man. I wonder if I am destined to remain single and roam the planet by myself for the rest of my life.
So, OK, we’re not exactly twins. The point is, she had a defining moment and she wrote about it. I wondered if I should do the same.
Rather embarrassingly, I began to consider ‘doing an Eat Pray Love’ – writing about rebuilding my life and finding my spark again (which may or may not involve travelling to Bali where I fall in love with a gorgeous man with a gentle soul).
Of course my next thought is; Who would want to read about that? What am I thinking of?
I imagine a stampede of people unsubscribing (right now 39* lovely human beings subscribe to this blog so I’d probably just hear the gentle patter of feet going off into the distance).
Nevertheless, something is telling me to bite the bullet.
So I am going to do it.
For one year.
Maybe dad was sitting next to me as I watched Eat Pray Love? Maybe he was gently telling me what to do? He told me a few months ago that he always thought I ‘had it in me’ to be a writer (this was news to me; I was shocked). So why not be a writer the only way I know how: by writing this blog?
It’s my way of honouring dad and keeping him part of my life.
So…January 21st 2014.
Let’s see where I am in one year.
[*Figures for November 2013: 121 lovely subscribers!]