You Have a Life


A few months ago, I had the opportunity to hear Cheryl Strayed speak as a part of the local university’s lecture series. I had read her bestseller Wild and although I didn’t love the book, I still appreciated the story. I should say, I did like the book. “Love” is a word I use sparingly with books (but liberally with food and animals).

Cheryl Strayed was not what I expected, though given her voice in Wild, I shouldn’t have been surprised. She was warm and genuine, the kind of speaker who can make a large room feel smaller. Even her speaking voice had a soothing quality–something between a caring high school teacher and an aunt who won’t let you get away with too much.

After her talk, my husband and I filed into line to have her sign a copy of Wild. We were given a post-it note to write what we’d like her to sign. I scribbled a quote from her talk and handed it to her along with my book. Then I said something banal as she turned to the cover page, probably: “Thanks for coming. Blah. Blah.” She saw the quote and glanced up, “So, you’re a writer?” Well. The answer seemed complicated to me so the most honest response I could muster was, “Ermyeah.” 

The above quote is from one of Strayed’s other books, Tiny Beautiful Things. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in work, creative or otherwise. This quote is a strong dose of perspective for me. I wish I could blend it up in a smoothie every morning. Thanks, Cheryl. 

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