“You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don't need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn't mean you're incapable of real love or that you'll never love anyone else again. It doesn't mean you're morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship. That's all. Be brave enough to break your own heart.”—Dear Sugar
“...While it’s true you’re haunted by your past, it’s truer that you’ve traveled spectacularly far away from it. You swam across a wide and wild sea and you made it all the way to the other side. That it feels different here on this shore than you thought it would does not negate the enormity of the distance you traversed and the strength it took you to do it.”—
Cheryl Strayed (“Sugar”) might not technically be a therapist, but she’s been doing some of the most wonderful therapy anywhere on the planet over the past couple of years through her Dear Sugar column over at The Rumpus. If you somehow haven’t read her columns yet, you should definitely go and do so right now. You might lose several hours of your day/life in the archives, but I promise you it will be time well spent.
“You don’t have to be young. You don’t have to be thin. You don’t have to be “hot” in a way that some dumbfuckedly narrow mindset has construed that word. You don’t have to have taut flesh or a tight ass or an eternally upright set of tits. You have to find a way to inhabit your body while enacting your deepest desires. You have to be brave enough to build the intimacy you deserve. You have to take off all of your clothes and say, I’m right here. There are so many tiny revolutions in a life, a million ways we have to circle around ourselves to grow and change and be okay. And perhaps the body is our final frontier. It’s the one place we can’t leave. We’re there till it goes. Most women and some men spend their lives trying to alter it, hide it, prettify it, make it what it isn’t, or conceal it for what it is. But what if we didn’t do that?”—
Dear Sugar from Dear Sugar # 86
(it’s amazing and you should read it all)
“I wrote a book because I couldn’t say it out loud”—Melissa Febos, on her book Whip Smart in Conversation With Writers Braver Than Me from The Rumpus
“A lot of people who want to see the short story have a renaissance of readership—they tend to think of short stories, and sometimes poems too, as being well-suited to the way we now live, with all of these broken-up bits of time. I hope they’re right, but my sense is that our fiction reading has become, if anything, more cherished as a kind of escape from fragmentation. So, short stories have an even harder time, because they tend to get read during the day, between other things. They’re interstitial. And yet the content of short stories tends to be very much ‘nighttime’ content. I mean, Chekhov’s stories are about the moment that a life goes off the rails and the price that will be paid—forever. That’s a typical Chekhov story for you. Something that you’re used to lying in bed worrying about at four in the morning, before you have the psychic defenses to kid yourself and tell yourself to get up and shower and go to the office. Right? Or short stories are about adulterous passions, or kids having terrible accidents. You know, all of this stuff is nighttime, nightmare, dream stuff. And I like the idea of trying to take a piece of the night and trying to plunk it down in the middle of the day. But that’s the kind of fun that isn’t for everybody.”—An excerpt from The Rumpus’s interview with our editor Lorin Stein.
“Writing is hard for every last one of us... Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig. You need to do the same, dear sweet arrogant beautiful crazy talented tortured rising star glowbug. That you’re so bound up about writing tells me that writing is what you’re here to do. And when people are here to do that they almost always tell us something we need to hear. I want to know what you have inside you. I want to see the contours of your second beating heart. So write, Elissa Bassist. Not like a girl. Not like a boy. Write like a motherfucker. Yours, Sugar”—Dear Sugar: Write Like A Motherfucker by Sugar for The Rumpus
“Books, like all art, breed in us desire. In times of crisis and fear and misrepresentation we need desire, or else we shut down and hide out in our houses, succumbing to infotainment and the ease of an available latte, turning off our brains and emotions. Books breed desire. ”—The lovely Lidia Yuknavitch, in a piece she wrote for The Rumpus titled “The Urgent Matter of Books.” Her memoir is one of our favorite books of the year, so far.
“You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts. You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all. ”—Sugar from her advice column on The Rumpus
What to Do on Black Friday
Go to a public library before it gets shut down.
Go to a university library and have sex in the back stacks, then spend the rest of the night with your lover discovering and reading books.
Go to your local independent bookstore and ask them which books they’d like to most hand sell – which books make you feel alive again.
Buy books rather than boots. Beer. An iPad.
People keep telling me that books are in danger of disappearing. E-books, Kindles, iPads will replace the object of the book as we know it. I’m not worried.
The new technologies are pretty cool, to be honest. Very snappy. But until the day when we are cyborg-fitted with our art and literature, I already know why we’ll keep picking up books and putting them in our hands, turning the pages.
In times of crisis, we can still remember them burning.
—Lidia Yuknavitch, “The Urgent Matter of Books”