How to Be with Grief, Suzy Greaves talks with Cheryl Strayed
‘Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me… Fear begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid.’
-Cheryl Strayed, Wild
When Cheryl Strayed was 26 she took an 1100 mile hike on her own from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State. She faced rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, as well as the incredible beauty and intense loneliness of the trail. She had no experience of long-distance hiking or backpacking and her trek was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise”. The promise was the piecing back together a life that had unravelled.
Four years earlier Strayed thought she had lost everything when her mother died young of cancer. Her family scattered in their grief, her marriage soon crumbled and slowly her life spun out of control. Feeling she had nothing to lose, she set out alone along the Pacific Crest Trail. She tells the story of this journey in her New York Times-bestselling memoir Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found (Atlantic 2013), which vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of a journey that maddened and terrified and ultimately gave her strength.
Here in conversation with Suzy Greaves (editor of Psychologies Magazine), this warm, funny, powerfully honest and wise speaker shares the lessons she learnt on the road about fear, anger, grief and healing. She draws on some of the most important conversations she has had with readers as the author of the hugely popular advice column Dear Sugar, the best of which has been collected inTiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who’s Been There (Atlantic books 2013).
This event took place at Conway Hall on 14 October 2013.