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I wrote the last line of my first book, Torch, and then spent an hour crying while lying on a cool tile floor in a house on a hot Brazilian island. After I finished my second book, Wild, I walked alone for miles under a clear blue sky on an empty road in the Oregon Outback. I sat bundled in my coat on a cold patio at midnight staring up at the endless December stars after completing my third book, Tiny Beautiful Things. There are only a handful of other days in my life--my wedding, the births of my children--that I remember as vividly as those solitary days on which I finished my books. The settings and situations were different, but the feeling was the same: an overwhelming mix of joy and gratitude, humility and relief, pride and wonder. After much labor, I'd made this thing. A book. Though it wasn't technically that yet.
The real book came later--after more work, but this time it involved various others, including agents, publishers, editors, designers, and publicists, all of whose jobs are necessary but sometimes indecipherable to me. They're the ones who transformed the thousands of words I'd privately and carefully conjured into something that could be shared with other people. "I wrote this!" I exclaimed in amazement when I first held each actual, physical book in my hands. I wasn't amazed that it existed; I was amazed by what its existence meant: that it no longer belonged to me.
Two months before Wild was published I stood on a Mexican beach at sunset with my family assisting dozens of baby turtles on their stumbling journey across the sand, then watching as they disappeared into the sea. The junction between writer and author is a bit like that. In one role total vigilance is necessary; in the other, there's nothing to do but hope for the best. A book, like those newborn turtles, will ride whatever wave takes it.
It's deeply rewarding to me when I learn that something I wrote moved or inspired or entertained someone; and it's crushing to hear that my writing bored or annoyed or enraged another. But an author has to stand back from both the praise and the criticism once a book is out in the world. The story I chose to write in Wild for no other reason than I felt driven to belongs to those who read it, not me. And yet I'll never forget what it once was, long before I could even imagine how gloriously it would someday be swept away from me.
A great read from Cheryl Strayed that tells of her solo journey of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
What a beautiful and powerful story written so adeptly you'd think the author had been writing for years.
Felt like I was on the journey too, made me really think about my own life and how I am living it.
The reason for four of five stars: I was inspired and entertained by Cheryl's story, and was left longing for more of the detail of the trail. Great descriptions, but I want more. Read morePublished 21 minutes ago by Mrs. Alfano
Wow! What a great book! I absolutely loved this and couldn't put it down. Cheryl was relatable, intriguing, and funny. Read morePublished 5 hours ago by BlueSky
Just a walk in the park... Nothing really special. Somebody just getting away from herself...Published 5 hours ago by Alvaro Namen
A very good book ,her experiences were so vividly told you felt like you were there,I recommend it to everyone.Published 6 hours ago by Regina Cazad
I'm so glad I read this book. Even though I could never hike such an unbelievably long trail, this book makes me want to. Go Cheryl Strayed!! Read morePublished 6 hours ago by kk723
Great book, laugh out loud at times and very introspective at times as well.Published 6 hours ago by Wendy D.
Amazing story and very well written. Every page filled with descriptions that made the story of her life very real and the trail come alive as a once in a lifetime experience. Read morePublished 6 hours ago by Shirley tedford