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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.
I'm quite interested in hiking the pct. If it wasn't for that I would've had a difficult time getting into it.Published 10 hours ago by Michaela Obradovich
Cheryl's big hike on the Pacific Coast Trail is preceded by her mother's death and the extreme loss that she feels. Read morePublished 10 hours ago by Kindle Customer
Great read on my way to/from Chicago from LA. Got totally lost in her adventure, as her writing is very easy to follow. I didn't watch the movie until after I read the book. Read morePublished 10 hours ago by CJ
Being an avid reader of true life adventures,this is definitely one of my favorites.I think what I loved about this story, is it is so honest, and primal. Read morePublished 11 hours ago by Betty
Anyone who has dreamed of doing something wild and crazy, but never took the time, or never found the opportunity to go, can now take the trip of a lifetime with a courageous young... Read morePublished 11 hours ago by Luanne Kempf
The book was OK. I'm not sure about the danger she could have been in by being a woman hiking alone. The boot incident started out to be funny but the results sure weren't. Read morePublished 12 hours ago by J. Smith
This is the most engaging book I've read (or listened to) in a long time. It's so good that I'm listening to it again. The narrator is excellent as well. Read morePublished 14 hours ago by Christina Chadwick