One of which occurred Monday night. My friend, Trish had an extra ticket to hear author Elizabeth Gilbert http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/ speak and I knew I couldn't pass on the opportunity.
With Ms. Gilbert (most-famously known for her memoir "Eat, Pray, Love") was her friend and new author, Rayya Elias http://rayyaelias.com/. Elias' memoir titled, "Harley Loco" is about her struggles with being a starving musician in New York, a hairdresser, unfortunate homelessness, and the downward spiral of her addiction. I can't wait to read it.
Elias informed me after the talk that she is now 16 years sober. We swapped a few stories and when I told her I was an addiction treatment counselor, she got tearful and mentioned that the counselors who she had in rehab were with her "every step of the way" and if it weren't for them she wouldn't be living. I asked her what finally clicked for her, after she stated being in and out of several rehabs,
"I tried to kill myself. And I couldn't even do that right. I knew then that I really needed help."
That's not the first time I've heard that from someone sitting in my office. Rayya's memoir is going to touch so many lives. So glad she had the courage to write it!
We embraced and I told her I was very glad she was alive to tell her story. Later, back in the car, I looked at the inscription of my new purchase that simply said, "Thank you!".
Those of you who are not familiar with Elizabeth Gilbert, she was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People and here I was in the second row, listening to her explain her writing process of her most recent book, "The Signature of All Things". Her speech was inspirational and a good kick in the butt for those of us dreamers to continue creating... to keep finding your story and then write it because if you don't, someone else will. She also spoke about letting go of your characters once you are finished and what that process might feel like.
Afterward, my friend Patricia Sexton www.trishsexton.blogspot.co.nz was able to give Elizabeth Gilbert a copy of her published book, "LIVE From Mongolia" (another gem!). They had an exchange that you can read on Trish's blog. But Ms. Gilbert heard I was from Minnesota and mentioned she has relatives who live in the town where I grew up. She threw out a few names but none of them were names I recognized. Still, a special one-on-one exchange and the energy intensely positive. Thrilling.
|Me with Rayya Elias, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Patricia Sexton|
As we were about to leave, Trish and I both beaming from the night, a 20something girl approached Trish and asked her about "LIVE From Mongolia". When Trish told her that she was the author of it, the girl said she just began reading it. Without missing a beat, Trish asked the girl, "What is your name?" Truly a sweet moment to witness between author and reader. I only hope to be so lucky someday.
So while I haven't been able to find Mr. Wellington, I have been able to find things I never imagined finding. I got to spend a night with three incredibly talented, intelligent, philosophical, resilient, humble, compassionate women authors. I found that when you have goosebumps about something, don't ignore it. Use it. I found that friendships that are true, are the ones that challenge you to tune in to those goosebumps. And they are the ones you can bare your soul to and be heard... and then pushed to create something out of that vulnerability.
They are everywhere. You just have to pay attention.