Last weekend, two of the United States' most famous memoirists met in person for the first time, after a years-long friendship conducted via email and phone. Liz Gilbert and Cheryl Strayed finally met in real life, and the Internet somehow managed not to implode from the collective awesomeness of so much spiritual guidance in one place.
If you don't recognize their names, perhaps the titles of their books will ring a bell. Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love, her 2006 memoir about traveling to Italy, India, and Indonesia in the aftermath of her divorce. Strayed was the Dear Sugar advice columnist at The Rumpus, and is now the co-host of The New York Times podcast Dear Sugars, but you probably know her better for her 2012 advice book, Tiny Beautiful Things, or her memoir, Wild, in which she recounted her own post-divorce adventures hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
Although they had not met in real life until this year, Gilbert called on Strayed to help dole out advice on the second episode of her Magic Lessons podcast, which dealt with mothers in need of a work-life balance. Magic Lessons ended in 2016, but it would be truly fantastic if Gilbert and Strayed could revive their joint effort to help the rest of us sort out our lives, now that they've connected in the real world.
Seeing this kind of strong friendship between women always brings me a little spark of joy, because there is quite enough negativity in this world without the need for feuding. With Gilbert's partner, Rayya Elias, currently living with a terminal illness, it's even more heartwarming to see that she has Strayed to lean on for support.
They say you should never meet your heroes, but the two authors have harbored nothing but positive feelings toward one another in the wake of their first in-person meeting. Gilbert describes herself and Strayed as "long-lost sisters" in her Thursday Instagram post. Meanwhile, Strayed's Wednesday Instagram upload gushes that "[Gilbert] is every bit as smart, funny, brilliant, generous, soulful and bad ass as I imagined she’d be, but only if you multiply that by ten thousand."
Gilbert and Strayed finally met up in real life because of their 1440 Multiversity course, Big Magic. The program ran from Oct. 13 through Oct. 15, and was billed as "a one-of-a-kind weekend [spent] exploring the pathways to expressing yourself and your story in the world." With a tuition cost of only $450, it's actually pretty affordable, all things considered. Here's hoping Gilbert and Strayed don't wait years to get together like this again.