Cheryl Strayed Archive

Writing Travel: A Process of Unmooring

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Sara Majka‘s debut story collection, Cities I’ve Never Lived In, begins with movement: “Maybe ten or eleven years ago, when I was in the middle of a divorce from a man I still loved, I took the train into the city. We were both moving often during this time,

Impossible to Pin Down: Truth & Memory in Nonfiction

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Nonfiction as a genre confronts the discordance between memory—a slippery, subjective entity that can be the antithesis of truth—and actuality. Roy Peter Clark writes of the “essential fictive nature of all memory.” Mark Kramer and Wendy Call, editors of Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman

The Passionate Lives of Writers and Readers

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When my husband and I moved in together, one of the biggest challenges we faced was how to merge our TV-watching styles. For my husband, if the TV is on, you’re actively watching something. For me, if the TV is on, it means you’re home. (I need some kind

The Power of An Author Who Can Share Her Insides

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At least sixteen years ago, maybe more, I read Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Prozac Nation and saw myself. These days, it’s de rigueur to dismiss Wurtzel as a chaotic, self-involved mess. But back then, after receiving a diagnosis of chronic depression with bipolar tendencies, I ate up Wurtzel’s navel-gazing, book-length confessional. I read about her

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why Louie Is Like Great Literature

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Tasha Golden is on vacation from the blog this week, so covering for her on the Round-Down today is the writer Gila Lyons. Gila’s work has appeared in Salon, The Millions, The Morning News, Tablet, The Forward, The NY Press, The Faster Times, The Berkshire Review, and other publications. She lives in Boston,

Roundup: Bold Beginnings & Sensational Starts

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In our Roundups segment, we’re looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. We explore posts from our archives as well as other top literary magazines and websites, centered on a certain theme to help you jump-start your week. Autumn is upon us and students everywhere are getting

Ploughshares Fantasy Blog Draft Round 2 – Vonnegut to the Chopper! vs What the Chuckin’ Buk?!

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Voting this past week was a return to the pitched ferocity of the first round, as both Benjamin Samuel’s The Mighty Duck Palahniuks (Electric Literature) and Michael Nye’s The Holden Caulbabies (Missouri Review) brought out voters in force. The two teams deadlocked at the end of the week, and

Ploughshares Fantasy Blog Draft Round 1 – Buckle Your Corn Belts vs Vonnegut to the Chopper!

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Round 1 of the Ploughshares Fantasy Blog Draft continues! Last week The Mighty Duck Palahniuks sprinted out to a quick 33-5 lead against Leave it to Cheever only to let off the gas midway through the week and only barely eke out a 35-28 victory. Alvarez’s “role players” nearly

Roundup: We Are Family

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In our Roundups segment, we’re looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. We explore posts from our archives as well as other top literary magazines and websites, centered on a certain theme to help you jump-start your week. Summer is here, and it’s

Fantasy Blog Draft – Round 3 – Wildcard Picks!

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[Editor’s note: If your March Madness bracket got busted, never fear! You can now redeem yourself with our Fantasy Blog Draft Bracket! Starting June 11, our completed teams will be facing off against each other, with reader votes on Facebook determining the winners. Until then, you can pick your