Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert On Watermelon Juice, White Sand Beaches + The Best Wedding Ever


Who: Elizabeth Gilbert, Writer, Warrior, Big Magic Maker

Why She’s Foxy: She's a mystical book mama slash soothsayer who speaks Truth To Power through bestselling books that dive deep + dark into the mysteries of the head and heart.

On Change: “I’m proud of myself whenever I choose to follow my heart and my instincts, rather than obeying the expectations of culture or giving into fear. My prayer for every woman is that she’s never afraid to change her life — and then sometimes change her life again and again — and repeat, as necessary, whenever a new path has to be taken.”

On her Parent’s Marriage: “My parent’s marriage looks like my parents’ cars: Old, reliable, domestic, a bit banged-up, but lovingly taken care of. You look at that vehicle sometimes and think, ‘How could this thing still be driving?’, but the engine is still strong, and there's no way they're ever going to trade it in. My sister and I threw an anniversary party for my parents that absolutely blew their minds. It was a perfect surprise party (pro-tip: throw the party several months before the anniversary itself; nobody will ever suspect). All their siblings came, from all over the country. We also managed to track down a bunch of their old friends from college, who they hadn't seen in decades. It was truly a beautiful night.”

On Jewelry: “I love the charm bracelet that my grandmother gave me when I was ten. It had belonged to her favorite Aunt, and then she passed it to me. Somehow, I've managed not to lose it — not when I was a child, and not as peripatetic adult, either. My favorite charm on the bracelet is a tiny gold envelope that my grandmother had added on for me, with the date of my birth and the words, Message from me to you: I Love You.”


On Weddings: “I had a blast at my friends Billy and Sheryl's wedding. They met later in life and were both over fifty on their wedding day. There is something profoundly satisfying about seeing two full-grown adults make a choice to commit to each other in love and devotion — now, that's a ceremony you can believe in. The humility and joy and gratitude that they felt, having fallen in love unexpectedly in middle-age, made the whole day seem to shimmer with golden light. They knew better than to spend a ton of money on a giant spectacle, and just brought together the few people they truly adored to share an intimate meal, sing songs together, and tell stories of love. The whole thing was so simple, so real, so touching. The worst wedding I've ever attended? Politeness keeps me from speaking their names, though they are divorced now. But the feeling of THAT wedding was the exact opposite of Billy and Sheryl's special day: two very young people who barely knew each other, spending a fortune of their family's money to entertain relatives they'd never met, in a ceremony that felt utterly without heart or true feeling. Nobody has fun at that kind of wedding, no matter how many cocktails are served.”

On Her Style Icon: “My grandmother, Madeleine Gilbert — and her style icon was Katharine Hepburn. So, I guess you could say Katharine Hepburn.”

On Her Dream Day: “A white-sand beach. A cloudless sky. My best friend. A novel in hand, but nobody will actually be reading anything because we'll be talking and laughing too much. No cellphones. There may be a nap. Plenty of watermelon juice is available. A stand-up paddle board is also available, should the mood arise to exercise a bit. I'd appreciate it if a dolphin could make an appearance at some point in the afternoon, too, but that may be asking for too much. Every single day in my real life that has been like my description above, has been the best day of my life.”

Fave love book: “All the really great novels about love are super depressing! (As a novelist, I understand this; It's hard to create true narrative drama and tension when everyone lives happily after.) So I would have to say, if you don't want to read a story where the heroine ends up throwing herself under a train, I would recommend my friend Ann Patchett's recent memoir, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, which speaks about love and intimacy with such real-life wisdom and grace.”

Fave love movie:Dr. Zhivago: Tragic, beautiful, heartbreaking! And as for the eyes of the young Omar Sharif, heaven help us.”

Fave love song:Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen. ‘Love is not a victory march; it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah.’ Again, it's a somewhat depressing song, but it cracks my heart wide open every time.”

Fantasy Wedding: “I would love to go back in time to the mid-1930’s and see my grandparents, Stanley and Madeleine Gilbert, get married. Based on the way they lived the rest of their lives, I have a feeling it was an amazing party. My grandparents (and their parents) always knew how to throw a good bash with plenty of cocktails, live music, games, and (after a certain number of cocktails, anyhow) some good dirty jokes. I would have loved to have seen them in their prime, on the day when it probably felt like life was going to be nothing but a big party forever- and, in their case, it kind of was.”