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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.
Great story about healing. No sugar coating, no immediate revelations, just a great story about taking the time to feel the physical suffering that is often needed to salvage the... Read morePublished 4 hours ago by CALIGIRL78
Wild is honest and compelling. An insightful journey. Just beautiful. Although I don't think the subtitle ("From Lost to Found... Read morePublished 5 hours ago by Rachel Lake
Let me preface this review by saying that I normally do not read nonfiction books. I typically read historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and contemporary romance. Read morePublished 5 hours ago by Kristin
I put off buying this book for quite a while. As an experienced backpacker I have always looked with a jaundiced eye at people who start off on a major backpacking trip with no... Read morePublished 7 hours ago by Patrick Burns
Being a hiker in the Adirondack Mts. of NY State I can understand a few of the situations but her experience was on a much more intense scale and for much more time on the trailsPublished 9 hours ago by vivian wills
Love this book! So insightful. It was great to read about a young woman trying to find herself. It definitely has motivated me to want to get out more and explore nature and just... Read morePublished 9 hours ago by Talea Miles
Very emotional first few chapters. You can really see how Cheryl was growing and learning from her past and hopeful for her futurePublished 10 hours ago by christine
Loved the honesty. It felt like I was hiking the PCT alongside Cheryl. Great read for anyone wondering if they can survive extreme grief.Published 10 hours ago by AShore
If you've ever felt, or can relate to the healing power of nature, this book is a must.Published 11 hours ago by ozonedriver