Like a Tray of Champagne Cocktails

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Today I saw two of my favorite personal gurus - Elizabeth Gilbert and Cheryl Strayed - live at an event. Both of these women and their lives and work have meant so much to me over the years.

Liz has been a voice that’s pushed me towards living a more creative life and who’s shown me how to move beyond fear – mostly through her work in “Big Magic” and her corresponding podcast “Magic Lessons.” Cheryl has been a chorus of wisdom and comfort in my ears as I consumed HOURS of her Dear Sugar podcast (along with the delightful Steve Almond), and the audiobook version of “Tiny Beautiful Things.”

So to say that seeing those voices in the flesh felt like an incredibly special gift would be an absolute understatement. As I looked at the two of them sitting in their plush chairs, facing one another and sometimes us, legs curled up on the couch and speaking words of love and admiration and fierce protectiveness over one another, I thought about how they are part of the circle of spiritual teachers in my life who I feel a physical desire to sit at the feet of and learn from, and mostly just absorb their presence. Funny how as I’ve gotten older, my dream “celebrity” encounters have shifted from things like seeing Justin Timberlake in concert to watching my favorite authors sit and have a conversation with one another haha.

I took notes on the various nuggets of wisdom each of them continued to effortlessly spill out onto us, and thought maybe I would have something to share here from it. And while they did say many beautiful and powerful things, there’s one line I just can’t seem to get out of my head.

It was from Liz, as she talked about her latest novel that’s set to release in June of this next year. She told us the background on it, how she chose that time period and why she went with the storyline she did. And then she told us how she thinks it’s a real fun read, and when describing to her publisher how she wanted people to experience the story she said, “I want this book to go down like a tray of champagne cocktails.”

I love that. While this may not be a profound piece of advice or a moving personal anecdote, I can’t tell you how much this line delighted me. It made me so grateful for the gift of words, and how they can paint perfect pictures in our minds and conjure up a full experience of feelings with one tiny sentence. It reminded me why writing is such a beautiful tool for opening up all the cavities of our brains and hearts and bodies.

So that’s all I could think or want to share. Not the most life-giving wisdom you’ll receive today I’m sure (though if you’re looking for that I would highly recommend the aforementioned pieces of work from both these women), but maybe just the tiniest tickle of delight for your brain. And a reminder of that perfectly blissful feeling you get when a good book bubbles all the way down into your soul before making you dizzy with joy and greedy for more.

Grateful for writers, for women, for words, and for the way the three of these things combine and bring an even greater sense of wonderment to my life.