Hey, all you Dear Sugar fans and all you fans of Portland author Cheryl Strayed! We’re happy to report that they’re one in the same. Strayed came out as The Rumpus’s beloved advice columnist Sugar yesterday at a party in San Francisco—just a month before the publication of her memoir Wild (check out Strayed’s video about the memoir here, and read a few of her non-Sugar essays curated here at The Rumpus).
If you’re not familiar with Dear Sugar, take a look over at The Rumpus. It really is some of the best online memoir reading around, with Strayed, as Sugar, offering her special blend of tender, straight-talking wisdom, answering readers’ questions on just about every kind of modern angst, but usually about relationships— like the best possible therapist, with a shot of whiskey and a gift for writing.
Strayed took over the column from Steve Almond in March of 2010. When Almond first asked her if she wanted to be The Rumpus’s Dear Abby, she said “Why not?” within seconds. Later, she thought of all the reasons she should’ve said no. “It paid nothing,” she told a reporter at The New Yorker’s Book Bench blog. “I was busy enough writing and mothering my two young children, I didn’t have any expertise when it came to advice-giving. But I decided to give it a try anyway. Sugar always tells people to trust their gut, so you could say from the very beginning, I was taking my own advice. I’m glad I did.”
Asked whether revealing her identity would change the nature of the column, Strayed told The Book Bench: “I’ve always written the column as if I were a naked woman standing in a field showing you everything but her face. I still plan to write it that way. The only thing that will be different is that you’ll know the naked woman’s name.”
Tiny, Beautiful Things, a collection of Strayed’s Sugar columns, will be released in July.