Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dear Sugar


As you might suspect, knowing me as the voracious reader and librarian that I am today, I read The Adventures Huckleberry Finn at a very young age.  I want to say around 9?  That was my first reading of the book and I for me, it was all about the adventure story of a fun and naughty little boy.  Later I'm glad I reread the book in high school and was able to think about race and our country's history and enjoy the writing on such a different level.  But the thing I remember most about my first reading of Huckleberry Finn, was saying to my mom, a day or two after I finished the book, "I miss Huck."  And she knew exactly what I meant, don't you?

Those books that leave you aching for the characters- your friends really, days later are so special and rare.

Not too long ago, I finished the book Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed.  And right now it's with the third person I've lent it out too and I bought it as a present for one friend too.  There is something about this book that really makes you want to pass it along.  While Tiny Beautiful Things isn't a novel with characters exactly, it is a book that really stuck with me, and I miss it.

First let me explain the premise: Cheryl Strayed wrote an anonymous advice column called Dear Sugar for the website The Rumpus.  I've always loved reading advice columns, but I couldn't believe how incredibly different Cheryl's answers were.  Every answer to every question reads like a personal essay.  Cheryl is not afraid to tell you dark secrets about her own life to help you figure out your own. It's crazy, because this way of answering an advice question makes perfect sense! Haven't you found yourself telling a friend a personal story when they confided in you with a problem?  It's the best way to try and help them solve their own problem.  And also make you feel really okay for having that problem.

So here's what I've been thinking: I would love to try and tackle some of your problems and write some personal essays, Cheryl Strayed style.  I was hesitant to write this post, because I didn't want to come off as a copy cat or worse, a plagiarizer.  But I really believe that Cheryl has created a new genre of writing, and I would love to try it out.  And because I have this blog with a small but fierce, passionate and AMAZING group of followers, I thought I'd put myself out there and reach out to all of you.

Would you be willing to email me a question you've been needing some advice on? I'd love to try and tackle it.  Then, with your permission, I'd love to post both question and answer on my blog- questions can be anonymous too!  The best questions that made it into Cheryl's book were essays themselves. The more you tell about your problem in your own voice, the more exciting I think it is to try and answer your question.

I know I won't be able to answer your questions as well as or even the same way as Dear Sugar does, but I'm excited by this idea as a writing exercise and also as good blog content.  So if you're up for it, my lovely articulate readers, I'd love to hear from you.  Please email me at .

Have any of you read Tiny Beautiful Things? Tell me if you have and what you thought in the comments!  And if not, please check it out, I think you'll be really glad that you did.


  1. Bravo to you for taking on such a task!! It will be exciting to read!

    1. Thanks! Feel free to email me a question!

  2. Adding Tiny Beautiful Things to my to read list. I'm so terrible at advice- I never want to tell anyone how to do anything. It sometimes feel like a violation of some sort of temporal prime directive (Star Trek!). It's as though my advice might change the natural order of things and the true intentions of a person. Silly right? Luckily, that only applies to my personal life.

    1. Ooh maybe you need advice on how to give advice haha. Let me know what you think of the book when you end up reading it!