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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 coming of age story, a road to recovery tale and also a love story between a daughter and her mother...Published 11 minutes ago by gracecat
A definite must read! Strayed can paint such an amazing image as you read her words throughout the entire book. Makes me want to venture out myself just to see what she saw.Published 8 hours ago by Danielle L Miller
This book was well written and keeps you hooked. The choices of the actual character/writer was a little hard for me as she seemed to be negative a lot.Published 14 hours ago by rjsmilebug
This book was so honest and detailed that I felt as if it were me right there hiking along the PCT. Cheryl is brilliant and inspiring.Published 20 hours ago by karina
Couldn't relate to the main character as much as I'd hoped to. Very simply written. Easy to follow story line. Book was much better than movie!Published 22 hours ago by Erin
Great book. Impressive look at life. Healing and health from a different perspective is awesome. Kept me on my toesPublished 1 day ago by Sara D Bigelow
Found it hard to believe that a story about one woman's mostly solitary trek across the west coast of the US could be so compelling but it is. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Anne Marie Sorohan