A Wild Life

Last Thursday, I was fortunate to attend Cheryl Strayed's lecture at Oregon State University. If you've read my review of Wild, you know I absolutely loved the book and this author! I heard about the talk the same day and scrambled to make plans to get to Corvallis! I'd heard it was going to be crazy, so I got there before the doors opened to the auditorium.  There were a TON of people--OSU later estimated that 1,900 were in attendance, only 1,200 of which got a seat in the auditorium--so I was super lucky to get a seat!!

My view of the stage!

Cheryl spoke for about 45 minutes and then opened up the floor for questions. Her lecture was fantastic--she's witty, honest, charismatic, and inspiring. She talked about her mom, and how her mom's death sent her life into disarray and how she believed hiking the PCT would help her overcome her burden. One of my favorite parts of her talk was discussing the scene where she tries to lift her backpack (that she packed too heavy) and how her need to do this hike was so intense that it wasn't "I can't lift my pack, I have to quit" but, "I NEED to lift this pack." Lifting the heavy pack symbolizing carrying her life's burden's and sorrows--a brilliant scene in both the book and movie. She explained her need for the hike and made the comment that once she was on the trail "My feet hurt so bad I couldn't feel my heart."

Cheryl speaking. Was far enough away it was hard to get a picture that wasn't blurry!

She took questions from the audience after he lecture. A huge portion of the audience were students at Oregon State and I was quite impressed with some of their questions. Cheryl's response to a particular student's question really stuck with me. The student wanted to know how we can express our mistakes in life without losing our credibility. Cheryl immediately responded that you gain credibility. Admitting your mistakes and faults makes you human, and others relate to this and thus don't feel so alone. Cheryl said that "we fear condemnation but what we get is love." I immediately wrote that line down as it really stuck with me.  Those who know me know I strive for perfectionism and have real struggles with fear of failure. This response really inspired me and helped me look at my feelings differently. 

My signed book!!
After the Q and A session, Cheryl stayed to sign books!  Though the line was long, it moved relatively quickly and I was able to get my copy of Wild signed!!  Those of you who regularly read my blog know that meeting authors is on my Bookish Bucket List, and meeting Cheryl Strayed was such an honor and delight. What a fantastic night!

Talking with Cheryl 

I look forward to future opportunities to meet fantastic authors like Cheryl. I left the event inspired and excited! Also, I HIGHLY recommend you read Wild!