New York Times Bestseller Eat Pray Love, has elicited its readers to tell whomever they can, be it stranger or friend, that they “must read this book.” Divided into three parts, each verb in the title corresponds to a country, each of which serendipitously, begins with the letter “I”. And since this is a personal journey for its author Elizabeth Gilbert, this is not so much a coincidence as an affirmation that she’s doing exactly what she needs to be doing.
Part One, Italy is the land where Gilbert perfects her conversational Italian and all the while, Eats. She consumes her food with a passion, seeks out the best each city and region has to offer, her exchange with residents is equally passionate, if not about food, then about living and loving and being.
In part one, her Italian friend invokes the theory that, “every city has a single word that defines it, that identifies most people who live there. If you could read people’s thoughts as they were passing? you would discover that most of them are thinking the same thought. Whatever that majority thought might be ? that is the word of the city.”
Apparently Rome’s word is SEX. (And since the Vatican is technically not part of Rome, its own word is POWER.) New York: ACHIEVE. Los Angeles: SUCCEED. The conversation between the two takes the theory down to smaller entities, ultimately to Gilbert’s. What is Elizabeth Gilbert’s word? At that point, after her year-long journey, she doesn’t know, and as she concedes on this page, that is truly the reason for her traverse around the world. (Ultimately she does find her word, and it’s a pretty good one.)
What is your word? Have you found it? What would you need to do to find it?