Tiny Beautiful Things has been on my radar for a while. I’ve heard many people list it as a favorite, the perfect gift book, and/or a book they can read over and over again. Then it popped up on that Buzzfeed list I decided to try to work my way through and I decided I had to give it a shot. I opted for the audio on the recommendation of Ann Kingman over at the Books on the Nightstand podcast.
Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of the best/most popular entries of Cheryl Strayed’s (author of the incredibly famous memoir, Wild) time as Sugar of the Dear Sugar column on The Rumpus. The topics are varied, everything from love to careers to writing. Cheryl’s responses are always honest, heart-felt, and deeply personal. She shares of herself information you wouldn’t expect an advice columnist to opening share. But that’s what was so great about Cheryl as Sugar, she wasn’t an advice columnist. She’s a wonderfully talented writer, unafraid to let her humanity show in all it’s glory, especially if it’ll truly help the person who wrote to her and the others who will read it.
These questions run the gamut, there will be something for everyone in this book. For me, the entry that convicted me was “Write Like a Motherfucker.” In this entry, a young woman (26) wrote to Sugar asking for advice on how to deal with being in her mid-20s and feeling like a failure of a writer. I identified with 90% of the feelings she described in her answer. Sugar’s response is so fantastic. The part that got me the most was this,
“We get the work done on the ground level. And the kindest thing I can do for you is to tell you to get your ass on the floor. I know it’s hard to write, darling. But it’s harder not to. The only way you’ll find out if you ‘have it in you’ is to get to work and see if you do. The only way to override your “limitations, insecurities, jealousies, and ineptitude” is to produce. You have limitations. You are in some ways inept. This is true of every writer, and it’s especially true of writers who are 26. You will feel insecure and jealous. How much power you give those feelings is entirely up to you.”
Cheryl herself reads the audio, and while authors don’t always make the best readers she does a wonderful job. It’s nice to hear all the feeling she put into her written responses. I think it makes them all the more powerful.
Tiny Beautiful Things