A very dear friend sent me Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m about halfway through this unusual memoir about a woman who had literally lost her way in life and decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, an arduous and dangerous, at times, journey from Mexico to Canada along the rim of mountains that stretch north to south a couple of hundred miles east of the West Coast of North America.
It’s already a wonderful reading experience for me, because the author is thrown into a tail spin by the death of her beloved mother and some of her reactions are so similar to trouble I’ve been having settling the death of my father into my soul. But it is an absolutely fabulous read for anyone. You’ll find yourself experiencing laughter, trepidation, sorrow, relief and great joy along with Strayed.
I did want to share this book with other readers, but that wasn’t the main purpose of this post. I felt a tremendous need to comment on how healing reading can be. I’ve read a number of books this past year that have touched me in one way or another, softening edges or making clear some point I hadn’t been able to resolve myself. However, this particular pain I’ve been experiencing is only one of the many times reading a wonderful book has come to my rescue.
Often, by reading of the hardships of others, as in The Grapes of Wrath, appreciation for my own lucky life has taken hold and shaken me out of complacency. Passages or whole books filled with joy also fill me with joy. Where I’ve struggled to find the right vehicle for a portion of a book I’ve been working on, I will read something like Portnoy’s Complaint and realize exactly what I need to do.
I have always been a prodigious reader and thank the heavens for that. Isn’t it wonderful that we endeavor as humans to communicate and it so often works? What a miracle.
Here’s wishing you a miraculous experience as both a reader and a writer, if that’s your passion.