CherylStrayed23 karma2015-10-30 18:27:36 UTC
That's such an interesting question. I don't think it has impacted the way I remember my mom, but it has made her presence in my life even bigger. Millions of people around the world know my mom through that book. They walk up to me at my events and say her name to me. They tell me they admire her. It's deeply moving to me that so many people know about her life, but it's surprising too. I never imagined this on the day of her death and in my deepest sorrow. It's a beautiful gift to me. As for how my mom is reflected in my own mothering? She's present in every way, but mostly in the way I love my children the way she loved hers: with wild abandon.
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CherylStrayed19 karma2015-10-30 19:17:40 UTC
Write about a time you realized you were mistaken. Write about a lesson you learned the hard way. Write about a time you were inappropriately dressed for the occasion. Write about something you lost that you will never get back. Write about a time when you knew you'd done the right thing. Write about something you don't remember. Write about your darkest teacher. Write about a memory of a physical injury. Write about when you knew it was over. Write about a time when you knew you were loved. Write about what you were really thinking. Write about how you found your way back. Write about the kindness of strangers. Write about why you could not do it. Write about why you did.
CherylStrayed19 karma2015-10-30 19:03:16 UTC
Hi Eleanor. One of the first things I learned about writing is that when you do it you have to give it all. You have to tell the truth about the human experience. I began as a fiction writer (and I still write fiction sometimes) and so the truths I was telling were about my characters--no matter what I wrote about them, I could hide behind the idea (whether true or not) that those characters were not me, they were my fictional creations. When I began writing nonfiction and putting my own life out there on the page I was terrified. I feared all the things people fear when they think about showing themselves fully--that people would judge or condemn me, that I would be disliked or mocked. But I also knew that I would not be doing my real work if I held back. Writing is about revealing. It's not about concealing. So I had to do the full reveal. What I've found is that yes some people hate me for it, they judge and condemn and mock me for it, but MOST people say "me too!" That's been the greatest experience. To see that the darkest parts of me are also the darkest parts of you (or if not you specifically, well then a whole lot of other people). Most people feel grateful when others tell the truth about themselves because it makes them brave too. I've found this extends to all the sorts of people you list--bosses, teachers, etc. They are human too!
CherylStrayed18 karma2015-10-30 19:34:44 UTC
You crawl. You move in the direction of goodness inch by inch.
CherylStrayed17 karma2015-10-30 18:36:07 UTC
Thank you for making TBT your go-to book! Some books I return to again and again:
Alice Munro's books, but especially "Lives of Girls and Women,"
Toni Morrison's "Beloved,"
Mary Oliver's poetry collections,
Raymond Carver's short stories,
Joan Didion's essays. There are so many more! It's hard to name them all. Books are my cure.
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