The Quarantine Tapes

The Quarantine Tapes 155: Elizabeth Gilbert

Episode Summary

“I’m in a negotiation against my grief a lot of the time...and sometimes the grief will back off and other times it will say, “Oh no, we’re doing this right now” and I’ve learned [to] pull the car over and now you just have to let it have its way with you.”

Episode Notes

Paul Holdengräber is joined by writer Elizabeth Gilbert on episode 155 of The Quarantine Tapes. Elizabeth has spent the pandemic living alone and she tells Paul about gifts she has found in that experience. She shares a poem she wrote on the subject for a friend and talks about what it means to savor the small things nicely done.

Elizabeth goes on to talk about how she has balanced living outwardly and inwardly this year. She tells Paul about her current writing project, her amusement with the idea of grief management, and her experience of creativity as a relationship.


Elizabeth Gilbert was born in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1969, and grew up on a small family Christmas tree farm. She attended New York University, where she studied political science by day and worked on her short stories by night. After college, she spent several years traveling around the country, working in bars, diners and ranches, collecting experiences to transform into fiction.

These explorations eventually formed the basis of her first book – a short story collection called PILGRIMS, which was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, and which moved Annie Proulx to call her “a young writer of incandescent talent”.

Elizabeth is best known for her 2006 memoir EAT PRAY LOVE, which chronicled her journey alone around the world, looking for solace after a difficult divorce. The book was an international bestseller, translated into over thirty languages, with over 12 million copies sold worldwide. In 2010, EAT PRAY LOVE was made into a film starring Julia Roberts. The book became so popular that Time Magazine named Elizabeth as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Her latest novel is CITY OF GIRLS — a rollicking, sexy tale of the New York City theater world during the 1940s. It will be published in June of 2019.

Elizabeth divides her time between New York City, rural New Jersey, and everywhere else.