Book Review: Braving the Wilderness

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

bravingthewilderness

This book came to me at exactly the right time. It was the Saturday before Easter and I was feeling kind of “wrong.” I was particularly upset about anything, but there was a bad feeling gnawing in my head. Suddenly I had the urge to write in my journal.

I wrote about my feelings of inadequacy in my relationships (friendships, romantic) and my inescapable desire to be liked by all, even at the expense of my identity.

When I was done writing, I was feeling extremely vulnerable; I reached for this book and began reading.

Early in the book, Brené Brown talks about a quote from Maya Angelou, which permeates through the whole book:

You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.

I feel like this quote in and of itself is what I need(ed) to realize about myself. The rest of the book often came back to this quote and the idea of belonging nowhere and everywhere, and especially, to oneself. Brown provides advice on how to achieve this with generosity and kindness.

She explains very clearly how and why people have separated from each other, but human connection is something we all need. If I had read this book at any other time, I might not have enjoyed it as much as I did. But, I quite enjoyed it because it was exactly the right time for me.

Brown’s work is well-researched and filled with relatable stories from her own life and from others. The stories make the research understandable. This book was thoughtful, heartfelt, and she inspired bravery in me when I needed it the most.

Adventures in Positive Feedback

Yesterday I got a text from a good friend. She’d finished reading the latest draft of my manuscript after she’d volunteered to be a Beta Reader. “I couldn’t put it down” is one comment that really struck me.

I think every writer wants to hear at some point that a reader enjoyed your work so much they couldn’t stop reading. Though, I suspect it happens more after a manuscript is published. Maybe.

Her feedback was positive and was a much-needed ego boost. I’d been working on this thing for two and a half years, and I figured I was the only one who would care about the characters and the story.

Later that day, I got a message from another person who asked to read it. Their comments were also positive; the characters were individual, the writing was fluid, etc. That was also a much-needed ego boost.

Having positive feedback on a draft of one’s first novel, there is hope (or at least more hope) for the future.

 

BRB: Daydreaming of getting an amazing book deal with a huge advance.