Some books come along and they take your breath away, they make your heart ache, they make you roll on the floor with tears of laughter, they make you jump up from where you were reading with a sense of exuberance and positivity that some people think is available from a large dose of class A drugs. Cheryl Strayed did this for me with Wild, her memoir of her journey from lost to found via the Pacific crest trail that propelled her into the worlds eye when Reese Witherspoon also fell in love with it and turned it into a film.
Then she did it again. Had tears streaming down my face, turned my breathing haphazard and gave me enough life advice in a scarily small space of time that altered my life perspective forever.
Tiny beautiful things.
Three words that have become my own motto for life let alone 2016, three words that she knew would be so impactful, that’s what the collection is called. The collection contains correspondence from Cheryl’s advice column ‘Dear Sugar’ so much advice and empowering words that i have tried a few times already to write this blog post and failed, because I just end up re-reading the whole book and forgetting what i am doing… so many tiny beautiful pieces of advice that every human, happy or sad, content or angry needs to read. Her advice to those who write to her reflects on her own wonderfully messily chaotic life but uses words in such an enchanting way, a way that pushes them deep down into the recesses of your heart that they stick there for days… Even now months later and I have re-read the book several times, I want to read it again and again and again.
Already the book has changed me. Taking on her advice that life is made up of and full of (i’m paraphrasing here) tiny beautiful things; it’s those that you need to remember. Those who make you. In many ways it’s the thought process i’ve been holding onto, but it’s hard, especially when you are over run with big ugly things… but still, even then, there are the tiny beautiful things… in everything, that can make the less wonderful days seem better, that can make you open your eyes and see light, see things sparkle in the far far distance, squint and make your eyes water and look; whether it’s a heated towel rail, a pot of thick black coffee, a fresh bar of soap, the colour clash of headphones against a pillow… there is so much beauty in the world, so much so that the negative can be outweighed providing you keep on looking; if you stay aware.
Luckily for me the internet is full of others that also loved the book, others that have not gotten so distracted they have managed to collate quotes and put them on pages. Laura Jane Williams for Thought Catalog has done a pretty exceptional job with a post called 19 astoundingly insightful Dear Sugar quotes that will save your life, and she’s not joking, they very much might… the first, for me personally, is a little nugget of gold
“The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.”
You can read more about the book on Cheryl’s site here, or buy it from any decent bookshop.
Image via Pinterest