Dear Sugar:

“I hope when people ask what you’re going to do with your English degree and/or creative writing degree you’ll say: ‘Continue my bookish examination of the contradictions and complexities of human motivation and desire;’ or maybe just: ‘Carry it with me, as I do everything that matters.’

And then smile very serenely until they say, ‘Oh.”
― Cheryl Strayed

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“Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write. Keep writing and quit your bitching. Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.”
― Cheryl Strayed

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Reading Cheryl Strayed’s debut novel, now 12-years-old, on holiday in Oamaru and remembering how incisively she writes about loss and grief, and other darker aspects of the human condition like crippling jealousy, performance anxiety, and the fear of a life wasted. Reading these quotations from her book, Tiny Beautiful Things, compiled from her heartbreaking advice column on literary website The Rumpus, feels like revisiting my own darker past.

Further reading: “The Love of My Life” by Cheryl Strayed

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