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Elizabeth Gilbert on creativity and genius

February 23, 2009 |  8:54 am

Once, Elizabeth Gilbert was just another writer with a couple of well-reviewed books; then "Eat Pray Love" happened. Calling its international bestseller status a "freakish success," she spoke at TED 2009 about what it's like to be a creative person who wants to keep writing. "It's exceedingly likely that my greatest success is behind me. Jesus, what a thought!," she says. "That's the kind of thought that could lead a person to start drinking gin at 9 o'clock in the morning." Don't worry, she has avoided that, thanks in part to something she learned from Tom Waits. She muses on a creative force being outside the self, and about the part she plays -- showing up to do the work.

-- Carolyn Kellogg