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At the ashram in India, Liz met a man who would become her dear friend and later one of the most colorful characters in the book—Richard from Texas. "I knew she was writing this book, but I didn't realize what that meant," Richard says. "I didn't realize talking to a writer who's writing a book is like talking to a reporter," he says. "And things are being written down that I forgot I've said or situations that I forgot about, and suddenly I read it in a book and I go, 'Oh, my God. She was writing a book!'"

Richard says he came to the ashram on his own personal journey. "I'd been meditating for some time and I just wanted to go deeper within and I wanted to find the quietest place that was most conducive for that," Richard says. "So I went to an ashram in India. The particular ashram that was the mother ashram of the path that I was on."

What did Richard think of Liz when he first met her? "Well, she seemed like a combination of Henny Penny and Chatty Cathy. She had these issues of a lifetime swirling around her head like flies, and she was just kind of going around as if they weren't even there. But yet trying to swat them away at the same time," he says. "It was the perfect thing to be happening to her, and it was the perfect time for it to be happening. And the perfect place."

While they were at the ashram, Richard gave Liz an unusual nickname—Groceries. "She really enjoyed her food. And she spoke to it as she ate," he says. "So I would hear this, 'Hmm. Oh, mm' And I thought this woman really enjoys her groceries. So I started calling her Groceries."
FROM: Eat, Pray, Love and Oprah's Book Club Announcement!
Published on January 01, 2006


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