About Last Night, or Why Cheryl Strayed’s Reading Was WILD

by Makoto Azuma

I can’t explain it logically, but I don’t have to because I know it’s true: Last night, I turned a corner. I thought I was simply going to Housing Works Bookstore because I love The Rumpus and because I wanted to hear Cheryl Strayed read from her new memoir Wild. That was true, but the moment Dayna Kurtz got on stage with her guitar and kicked the night off by singing “Please Mama, Let Me Come Home,” a voice in the marrow of my bones started saying over and over again, “This is it.”

The reading was wonderful. Hearing a chapter from Wild as well as several readings of Cheryl’s amazing Dear Sugar column was wonderful. Being there with a good friend and also making new friends was wonderful, but beyond those tiny, beautiful things, I felt happy in a deep way, a way that said “You’re moving in the right direction. Here’s one more sign post to prove it.”

Here are just a few of the gems from Cheryl’s work I heard last night:

“How do we travel through the different terrains we have to travel through & carry the beast that is our life?”

“Quit worrying about your career. You don’t have a career, you have a life. Do the work.”

“You will believe you no longer have a right to tiny, beautiful things. You are wrong. You do.”

“You don’t need a reason to leave someone you love. Wanting to leave is enough.”

“We swim there, in the direction of whatever that is, towards real life.”

“No one will protect you from your suffering. You have to live it.”

“The whole thing about making art is that you have to be brave which is different from not being afraid.”

So, yeah. It was quite a night. I even have a coffee mug that says “Be Brave Enough to Break Your Own Heart   — Sugar” to prove it. Also, a thousand and one thank you’s to Christine Zilka for tickets to the Sold Out reading.

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One response to “About Last Night, or Why Cheryl Strayed’s Reading Was WILD

  1. @Saeed: awww! When I admitted to myself that I needed to give away the tickets, which fell on the same night as my husband’s birthday, I asked myself, “What would Sugar do?” And Sugar would make sure that the tickets went to someone who needed to be there more than I needed to be there, and who could be nurtured by her spirit and her words. Cheryl Strayed/Sugar=amazing, and so are you.

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