Elizabeth Gilbert

I would be remiss not to take the time to sing Brendan’s praises, once more. We all know that we adore him because he is such a delight of a boy, but there is far more to that charming boy than meets the eye, and I've really been able to see it more clearly on this trip. 

Not only is he brilliant, well-read, and hardworking, but his skills with people go beyond anything I've ever seen. Traveling from festival to festival with him over these last 6 weeks, I have yet to see Brendan encounter a single human being whom he cannot immediately figure out how manage—from the prickly and entitled, to the sensitive and needy, to the aggressive, to the shy, to the outrageously drunk, to the petulantly vegan, to downright bastards and bitches. He possesses a sort of gentle emotional kung-fu that he puts to use on people swiftly, making each new person relax into trusting him within moments... and then they just want to work with him, not against him. And I mean EACH person—festival directors, publishing executives, TV producers, hotel concierges, literary celebrities, taxi drivers, waiters, airport personnel, and the guy selling coffee at 5am. 

As such, Brendan cuts a swath of ease through the world—and I honestly think it's just because he genuinely likes everyone he meets, and wants to see the only best in them. Therefore, they show him their best. What a power that is! There's a deep ethical goodness in Brendan that goes far beyond mere friendliness.  (Not only does he not gossip about anyone, for instance, but he will shut down the gossip of others by gently but firmly saying, 'Well, my experience with her is that she's wonderful,' or 'Please don't tell me bad things about people I've never met before—I would so much rather come to know them on my own, without prejudice.') And that goodness and decency inspires all of us to want to please him, and act like better people around him, which means that there is never any drama in Brendan-world. Better still, it also means that he convinces everyone (myself very much included) to work a lot harder and work a lot more cheerfully than we might otherwise have done. It's wonderful to watch, and wonderful to be swept up in.

Brendan is a treasure. My own warmest conviction is that he REALLY, REALLY, REALLY is a treasure.

—Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

David HenleyAuthor