Cheryl Strayed: Wild and Beautiful

I’m over at the Huffington Post speaking with Cheryl Strayed, the author of the best-selling memoir, Wild (Knopf, March, 2012 ), whose collection of advice-columns, Tiny, Beautiful Things (Vintage, July 2012), just came out. You can read the full interview here. Below, a taste:

RF: You have said that our work in life is to “build a house,” one composed of a moral code that tells us exactly what to do in any given moment. Has there ever been a time, as a writer, when your own “house” seemed inhospitable or when, no matter how solid it seemed, the gray areas made it difficult for you to know “the right thing to do?”

CS: Life is gray, it’s true, but when I wrote about “building the house” I wasn’t writing about life in general. I was writing about the internal compass we all have, which can be a clearer, truer thing than life if we allow it to be. It can lead us through the gray. Most of the time when I feel conflicted, I see upon closer examination that it’s really more of a situational contortion I’ve put myself in. I know what the “right thing” is, but I don’t want to do it because it will disappoint someone or it will interrupt some misguided sense I have about who I’m supposed to be or I’ll be attempting to justify my actions to myself, even when I know damn well what’s what. Having said that, I’m still lost about a quarter of the time. Hence, the phrase “we are here to build the house,” rather than “we are here to lounge around the house and drink margaritas.”

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