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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.
This tale of a 1100 mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail is amazing for the work, the struggle, the thoughts, the introspective work, plus the daily struggle of living and hiking... Read morePublished 4 hours ago by Mary M Stanton
Lost sight of what author was trying to tell in the story. Terrible ending leaving reader with more questions than answers.Published 6 hours ago by E. Rico
I hated this book because I disliked the narrator. Read Bill Bryson's A Walk In The Woods instead!!!Published 9 hours ago by saran wrap
Nice easy read. Although the things she went through may not be average, she is relatable. I've already recommended it to friends.Published 15 hours ago by LindseyWalker
This book is fantastic. The descriptions are wonderful. I can't wait to see the movie and the scenery that Cheryl Strayed describes.Published 19 hours ago by Judy
Great book. Touching,honest account of a person's emotional struggle while trying to conquer the arduous struggle of the pacific crest trail. Highly recommendPublished 19 hours ago by Kindle Customer
I couldn't put this book down! Cheryl is both giant storyteller and vulnerable heart. I cheered and cried reading her journey. I'd highly recommend to any friend.Published 1 day ago by Catherine