You loathe yourself, and yet you’re consumed by the grandiose ideas you have about your own importance. You’re up too high and down too low. Neither is the place where we get any work done.

Write like a Motherfucker, Dear Sugar, 2010

Nessie reminded me to re-read Write Like A Motherfucker by Dear Sugar, and as always, Sugar grabbed me by the heart. If you are a writer, in any capacity, I recommend reading (or re-reading, regularly) that essay, and even if you aren’t, I recommend checking out the Dear Sugar’s archives. Because Sugar’s words are like a big hug, yet somehow are also a big kick in the ass. They will make you feel loved while they make you better. Monsters and Ghosts, a letter about coming to terms with a difficult/abusive past, is another favorite.

For those who don’t know, ‘Dear Sugar’ was an advice column written by Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, but “advice column” doesn’t really do it justice. Sugar didn’t answer surface questions, she responded to heartfelt letters with soul-shaking essays reflecting on the pain and difficulties at the heart of her questioner’s requests. As luck would have it, I found her in the middle of recovering from leaving my Evil Ex and dealing with grad school and learning to date and deciding what kind of grown up I wanted to be. I’ve always read my way through my problems–stacks of memoirs, novels, the occasional advice/self-help books of various stripes–and both Dear Sugar and Wild were deeply meaningful parts of that habit of mine in the last few years. When Tiny Beautiful Things, a collection of Sugar’s essays, was released, I couldn’t wait to buy it and share it with people I loved. So today, thanks to Nessie, I share her with you.

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