Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dear Sugar : Cheryl Strayed, My Favorite Online Writer

"After our second child was born we slept in separate beds for months so I could dedicate my nights to tending to our newborn while he tended to our toddler. One time I got so mad at Mr. Sugar about the fact that every time he goes to the grocery store he only manages to remember half the stuff we need, I stabbed him in the thigh with my toothbrush. One time I brought our kids to their preschool and I came home and told Mr. Sugar that I had the impulse to ask one of the preschool dads I’d chatted with at drop-off to go with me to a hotel, where we would spend the morning fucking each other’s brains out. Not because I had any real desire for this other fellow. Not that I wanted to cheat on my beloved and hot Mr. Sugar. But because I wanted to spend the morning with someone who wanted to fuck my brains out who was not also someone whom I’d stabbed with a toothbrush in the course of a conflict about groceries." - Dear Sugar

Dear Sugar is an advice column in the online magazine The Rumpus whose identity has been a mystery even as the popularity of the column was becoming unavoidable, found everywhere online- even inspiring a line of tee shirts and mugs, the most popular of which reads Write Like A Motherfucker. I'm sure you all know that is a sentiment I can definitely get behind. After a long awaited and huge reveal party, 'Dear Sugar' was found to be the writer Cheryl Strayed- and look out world, because here she comes. On the cover of Vogue this month, a byline for the excerpt of her memoir  Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail ; and the excerpt I read was so good- probably the kind of book I'll read in one night, like eating a delicious meal, or stuffing your face with brownies all night. Either. Reading her columns blows me away. She is hands down the best advice columnist I've ever read, and the writing is genius. The words 'advice columnist' convey someone witty and intelligent and practical, but hardly conjure up the brilliant bombshell of Strayed's writing: compassionate, hilarious, so, so honest, with an emotional intelligence and writing chops combined to create the best reading experience online right now.  Cheryl's writing is what we need right now, and it's exciting.

What the hell does that mean, exciting? What's exciting for us, the public? I'm sure the writer is thrilled, but 'exciting'? Really? Well yes. It's EXCITING DAMNIT. If you love words, if you love writing, if you love exceptionally talented people who also happen to be incredibly caring and who are kicking ass with a particularly honest sword, then it is exciting. I'm excited. When I read the above excerpt from Dear Sugar, I literally laughed until I cried. I laughed because it is hilarious and I cried because it's so, so true. And then I felt excited, because it's been a long time since I read someone new to me who told the truth about human life so brilliantly. The excerpt from her memoir was completely engrossing. I mean, for me, this is like fundamentally necessary for survival. I have to read amazing writing or I will FREAK OUT. My entire blog is and always has been revolved around the quote 'one woman, telling the truth about my life' and telling the truth is something Cheryl Strayed excels at.
She's John Irving and Anne Lamott's literary lovechild
and I love her { writing }


xo




BugginWord said...

I'm plum giddy to check her out! Just as soon as I hide all our toothbrushes.

Melinda Owens said...

All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you.

Jen @ Life's Dewlaps said...

Thanks for the recommendation. Always looking for someone to make me laugh, giggle or even chuckle.

Angie Muresan said...

Oh yes. I've been reading her for quite awhile. I've actually met Cheryl, by the way. She is down-to-earth, hilarious and extremely intelligent.

Caroline said...

Okay, so here's what I think. i had no clue about Dear Sugar until today (until you told us) and I think that your writing very much reminds me (in the brilliance and passion and wisdom and kindness) of Sugar's. Both of you amaze me in the same way. Yes, we all SO need this kind of writing. We need it. Thank you for the heads-up.

Maggie May said...

Angie small world!!!

And Caroline- what an amazing compliment. Thank you. xo

Carrie said...

Thank you so much for the recommendation - I promptly read through all the archives, gasping, crying, laughing in recognition. She is marvelous. Such a multi-dimensional voice too - not just a "bad girl" or a "good wife" but both and more, like so many of us. I agree with Caroline that you remind me of her in your honesty and your compassion.

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