60 Comments
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

I will never forget the backlash Cheryl got from the thru hiking community and i will never forget commenting "if you read Wild to learn how to hike you missed the point".I will never forget Cheryl replying to me personaly. I know the vast majority of Cherls fans are women BUT about the same time she was on the trail i was making the same life altering decisions.As a "real" man I cried during certain parts of Wild as they hit home so hard. I am forever greatful for your honesty and raw courage

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

She changed my life . She is amazing in every way... every time I am “going through h something” I watch Wild , the book does not move off my nightstand where I see it every morning when I wake up

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

Please tell me Joe made it. Is he alive and thriving at something today?

Expand full comment
author

The answer is I don’t know. I ran into him a couple of years after this and he was trying to get clean. Then I spoke to him about 7 years after that and he’d just gotten out of a long inpatient rehab program. I’ve searched for him many times since then, but I can’t find him and my heart feels pretty broken about that. Ida, your reference to that Lucinda Williams song tells me you are a woman after my own heart. I love that song and I think of Joe when I listen to it.

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

Thanks for letting us know. I sincerely hope that he has been able to stay clean. Also thanks for sharing this unpublished excerpt. It was beautiful and I very much relate- "to remember a younger, more reckless version of myself. It made me shudder to think". Congrats on the 10th anniversary!

Expand full comment

Ditto. Was just gonna ask if he got sober? Hope he made it through. Cheryl you do such a good job of not glorifying the drug use and not erasing it. This chapter explains a lot. It feels like that Lucinda Williams song about standing over the Lake Charles bridge and him asking her to jump and her saying “No way Baby. That’s your own death you see.”

Expand full comment
author

And now you have sent me back to that album. The number of times I’ve listened to it are so many they cannot be counted. You relate?

Expand full comment

I saw Lucinda’s car wheels on a gavel road originally live at the New Daisy in Memphis. It’d taken her 11 years to put that album out, and boy oh boy did Memphis love her back then. Our local student radio wore those songs out. Somehow I had great seats for that show and was seated next to a film critic from Seattle who adored Jerry Jeff Walker whose Morning Song For Sally on Other Voices Other Rooms had carried my broken heart ❤️‍🩹 through those devastating breakups of my early 20’s. Lucinda was over an hour late to her show. No opener. Her guitarist and she were clearly on heroin. She joked about the bathroom being out of toilet paper as to why they were so late. But she’s been high on heroin and missed her flight to LA for the Grammys where she’d won in absentia. Memphis absolutely loved her back then.

Then I saw her 20 year reunion tour for Car Wheels On A Gravel Road at the Ryman. She was an entirely different person and so was I.

One of her interviews maybe with Terry Gross she talked about her poet laureate father taking her to visit Flannery OConnor’s house/farm in GA when Lucinda was five years old and Lucinda playing with Flannery’s peacocks 🦚 in her yard. Southern Gothic roots.

I don’t know if you’ve ever reached out to Lucinda but you two seem kindred spirits. Fearless in a world of posers. I’ll send you my Lake Charles Bridge story I wrote for Roxane’s Joel Gay Fellowship submission.

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

I wanted to know the same thing.

Expand full comment

Hard to believe this incredible portion was cut! Thank you so much for sharing it here and for your insights. I love your generosity of spirit. Happy Wild Anniversary!

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

“What I felt for him was weightless and by virtue of its weightlessness it seemed when I was with him that everything else in my life weighed less too. “

This cuts all the way through to the bone and takes me right back to being 22 and the most vital I’ve ever been. again. Thank you Cheryl.

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

Thank you. For this. For Wild. For emerging from the pain so others can see a path. Thank you.

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl, like so many other commenters, I am surprised that this powerful passage was cut from the book. I loved the movie’s treatment of your time with Joe.

I am the mother of a 36 year old man who is clean and sober for almost 8 years. He’s a marathoner now. I don’t know that he would be here today if I hadn’t made him leave my home. I love him very much.

Happy spring.

Expand full comment

Wow wow wow! This is such an incredible and moving passage. I am infinitely touched by your grace and your vulnerability on the page. Thank you for blessing the world with your words. It inspires me to continue pushing through my own grief and find my own way to share it with the world in literary form. Wishing you all the very, very best. Big hugs xoxo

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

Reading this brought me back to your book: the tenor, the cadence, the introspection, the insight, the rawness, the jarring honesty that immediately makes me want to be more honest with myself. I just love it! I could read another Wild. You, my lady, are a breath of fresh air.

Expand full comment

Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary of Wild! I’m very close to the age you were when you hiked the PCT, and I discovered your memoir very recently and was transfixed by your personal transformation in the midst of devastating life circumstances. After reading your memoir, I started listening to past episodes of the Dear Sugars podcast, and I just want to say that I’m so glad and inspired that you have built a beautiful life for yourself in the decades that followed your hike. While I will never do something as risky as hike the PCT, I do think that we all go through extraordinary experiences in life from which we come out the other side having changed and become a more evolved version of yourselves. If in my lifetime, I can experience a fraction of the self-transformation that you experienced on the PCT, I will consider myself blessed. Thank you for sharing your story and for sharing this excerpt -- it’s always incredible to gain insight into the behind the scenes of a writer’s process.

Expand full comment
Mar 22, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

I love the way you write. I wish I could be more eloquent than that, but something happens when I read your words. There's a flow that takes over, almost like a song, which transports me to a very raw place that is beautiful, uncomfortable; and moves me. I read your book, not long after it was published and like so many, it came into my life when I was on a precipice. So I did something WILD and made a decision that changed the course of my life. But like you, I've discovered that what you think is one decision ends up really being just another step in our own personal, private evolution. So, it's ten years later and I'm not where I thought my WILD decision would lead me. That was the mind of a naive romantic who 'pictured' the new life I could create. Instead, the choice led me down a road I never expected - filled with sadness and emotions I never really faced; but at least I am my true self. Flawed, wiser, forgiving, loving and accepting self. Truth is, I wouldn't change a fucking thing.

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

i remember drinking deeply every word of your journey.... full on inspiration to live fully

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

Stumbling upon this was such a nice surprise. Thank you for sharing the clips/paragraphs that did not make it into Wild. You are a gift 💝 to so many, including myself. While reading Wild for the first time, I realized you and I lost our mothers at the same age. That alone changed my life forever, and for the better. I wasn’t alone, and I had this new book that I was ‘Wild’ about!! Every year on the Anniversary of my Mom’s death, I read Wild. 📖😌❤️ Thank you.

Expand full comment

From paragraph one of this cut scene you had me. As you did in Wild, your writing pulls me into each riveting moment, as if I were your older sister, shrunken down to fit in your pocket, too small for you to feel my alarmed heart beating and tiny voice pleading with you to keep you out of harm's way. This charged, transitional scene would have done important work in WILD, but all your scenes felt crucial and as hard as it is to do, cutting a long piece is good idea--just not in this case. Congratulations on your ten year anniversary of publishing Wild!

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

This was beautiful and awful to read. It brought me back to a shabby apartment I had in Portland in 1993. I let a local sex worker come to my apartment for a glass of water and to recover from some bad experience she just had. She let me watch as she shot up in her neck before heading back out onto the street. That image is indelibly etched on my mind.

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

Today is Persian New Year, and I too had to experience some things one last time before the spring solstice it seems. Your writing has been a guiding light. I cannot thank you enough.

Expand full comment
Mar 21, 2022Liked by Cheryl Strayed

This is so raw in its grit, Cheryl. It's amazing to me it was cut. Thanks so much for sharing this piece. Reading it takes me careening into my own memories, wondering what version of myself I was trying to capture.

Expand full comment