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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.
Not only did I love the story, I loved her style of writing.... It's a book that also makes you reflect on your own life...
Felt like I was on the journey too, made me really think about my own life and how I am living it.
Fantastic read! Definitely a page turner! Great storytelling and truly inspiring...now I want to have an amazing adventure of my own!Published 1 hour ago by Shanon
This was an amazing story, so easy to read, felt like I was there and understood her feelings . Would strongly suggest everyone read this.Published 3 hours ago by Jat
I loved it, better than the picture, which I saw today. Read book first.Published 3 hours ago by Elaine Clark
This book has inspired me to be stronger person. I have hiked what I thought was an intense trail but, looking back nothing can compare to what this brave woman did.Published 3 hours ago by Emily
Cheryl hooked me with her book's opening - the sign of a truly talented writer. Beyond the compelling (and true) storyline, Cheryl describes her journey of finding her way on the... Read morePublished 3 hours ago by Erica Stevens
Very good. I'm going to hike it. I have been to almost every place mentioned in the book, ten years later. On a motorcycle, not walking.
Can not wait for the movie.
Great story! Very well written! Inspiring! I highly recommend this book for men as well. Understanding another's journey can change youPublished 4 hours ago by Trish Gallagher
This is the best book I've read in ages. Cheryl Strayed was so genuine and raw. I loved her story (and I am looking forward to seeing the movie -- but worry it won't compare to... Read morePublished 4 hours ago by FL Girl