The Outlaw Life

running, reading, blogging, loving

[14] Tiny Beautiful Things

on January 17, 2013

The following post is lifted straight from my reading journal, which isn’t something I regularly do, but thought was appropriate in this case.

Tiny Beautiful Things

Writing is hard for every last one of us – straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.

I finished Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed moments ago and basically couldn’t wait to write the journal entry on how much I adored this book. I can think of no better way to round out the years of this commonplace book than talking about the BEAUTIFUL words of Cheryl Strayed as Dear Sugar (Dear Sugar was an anonymous advice column published on, and was kept anonymous until 2012 when Cheryl came clean as the voice behind the advice).

So much of what Cheryl has to say on life and love and death and our capacities to change our own lives was truly spot-on and the kind of beautifully rendered wisdom I wish I had. And the kind I may just get tattooed on my body one day. The phrases and images she uses to describe everything from the birth of her children to the sexual abuse she experienced as a child are not only gut-punching, they’re real enough to exist in something similar you’ve gone through. I think that, if there is any book I will need to read aver the eventual passing of my mother, it will be this one. Side note – this, I already know, will be the darkest day of my entire life, and thus is also one of my biggest fears. But the way Cheryl put words to her pain – as well as leaving the all-so-vital space between the words – makes me know that one day I’m going to need to read them again. And maybe again after that – a hundred different times AT a hundred different times, because I feel like each new time there will be something else to get out of her words, some new mirror to look back at myself through.

It was mercy. That’s that the fuck it was. The fuck was mine. And the fuck is yours, too. The question ‘WTF’ does not ‘apply to everything, every day’. If it does, you’re a lazy coward. Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it.

Cheryl Strayed has basically given me a giant literary boner, and I’m excited to finish her nonfiction Wild and start her novel. If I had one overarching squabble over the whole thing, it would be that, reading all the columns in one (or three) sittings made some of the letters run together, and made me skim through a few of the letters in the middle that didn’t stand out quite as much. But really, it was all so beautiful that this flaw was basically of my own creation because I just DID NOT want to put the book down. I may have to buy a zillion more copies of this book so that any time sometime I know is having a family/love/work/kid/death/life problem I can hand it to them and say “here, sweet pea. This’ll help. Promise.”

Rating: OMFGZ!


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