My two greatest priorities are community and privacy, which may seem like they don’t go together. But I don’t think I can quite do one without the other, and I’m learning how to balance my days between those two things. On the one hand, I’m very much a part of this town where I now live, a part of my neighborhood, my family and my community. On the other hand, I have learned that I need to hold sacred several hours a day that don’t belong to anyone but me.
My husband and I live in an old Victorian house where we have a little sunroom, a cupola, on the top where I work. It’s just mine. One of the many things I love about my husband is that I don’t think he’s ever been up there. Maybe once or twice while we were first buying the house. That’s my world up there. That’s where I go to revitalize my own spirit, to do the work that I love, the reading that I need to be doing and to be in silence. I know if he ever comes up there, it’s because somebody just died. There’s just no way he’d interrupt me up there. And then I come down and I’m rejoined into the fold and all of the projects that I’m doing in this town and all of the people whose lives I’m involved with. I’m renewed. I don’t want to be a hermit, but I also don’t want to be the person that everyone takes from and I never get anything for myself.
Elizabeth Gilbert is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her short story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, and her novel Stern Men was a New York Times notable book. Her 2002 book The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award. Since its initial publication in January 2006, her most recent book Eat, Pray, Love spent 57 weeks in the #1 spot on the New York Times paperback bestseller list. A film adaptation of the book is coming out this summer from Columbia Pictures.