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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.
I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. The author was able to transport me along each step of this heroic adventure. Read morePublished 6 hours ago by L. Alexander
The book give an indepth detail of what it takes to walk the pct. The PCT has alway been a place very few people can go. Walking is a good way to relieve stressPublished 7 hours ago by Amazon Customer
I really enjoyed tagging along on the PCT and it helped me do a little soul searching as well. I also lost my mom, my best friend. Read morePublished 7 hours ago by Sara W.
Reading Wild brought me back to my hiking days and the time my husband and I were going to try extended hikes, even bought most of our stuff we'd need but health reason we never... Read morePublished 8 hours ago by Aletha A Zahler
I have been wanting to read this book especially since the movie was out. Great read almost making me feel as though I was cheering her on her journey.Published 8 hours ago by Christina A. Coles
So much fun to read. I was disappointed when it was four in the morning and sleep won. Cheryl masterfully reveals the trail's challenges and life's challenges are intertwined. Read morePublished 12 hours ago by Glenn Kern
very well-written account of a real person reassessing life. good details of a challenging experience.Published 13 hours ago by gerald bowkett
Wonderful reading. Well done girl on all levels. Compelling reading with not so gentle spotlights into your soul. Did those feet recover?Published 13 hours ago by Amazon Customer