Posted at 10:33 AM on October 16, 2012
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Books
In 1995 Cheryl Strayed hiked the 1,000 mile Pacific Crest Trail in an attempt to stop the downward spiral she'd been in. Her mother had died, and in her grief Strayed ruined her own marriage.
Cheryl Strayed, author of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" and "Dear Sugar," is in the Twin Cities to give readings from her work.
MPR Photo/Euan Kerr
Strayed completed the trail, but she told MPR's Euan Kerr she didn't feel ready to write about the experience until recently.
She emerged from the trail a different person, ready to move on with her life. She emphasizes that it was a subtle change.
"Narratives that we receive from Hollywood and other media sources is that somehow somebody began a journey and they were Charles Manson, and then end the journey and they are the Buddha," Strayed said. "And I knew for certain that's not how transformation works. That's not how my life worked."
People told Strayed for years she should write about her experience but she told them she didn't have anything to say.
"An interesting experience does not a story make," Strayed said. "At least not a book."
But the transformation that had began on the trail continued, Strayed said. She published two books of fiction. She moved to Portland, Ore., remarried and now has two small children.
"And so it was the right time," she said. "I began writing "Wild" in 2008. I thought it was going to be an essay and I found I that I really had so much more to say."
You can find out more about Strayed's story - and her book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - here.
The Duluth Festival Opera, or DFO as it's known, will come to an end in 2013.
The Duluth Festival Opera's concert Three Terrific Tenors from August, 2005
Photo by Ken Pogin
According to Artistic Director Craig Fields, the DFO simply is not receiving the kind of community financial support it needs to survive.
Over its eight year history the DFO has become known for staging high quality opera, occasionally bringing in talent from the Metropolitan Opera to perform. In 2008, the DFO was awarded the Duluth Depot Foundation's prestigious "Cultural Enrichment Award."
In 2011 the DFO was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Cultural Heritage Fund to tour an opera by a Minnesotan composer. It performed Linda Tutas Haugen's Pocahontas, a Woman of Two Worlds, in Duluth, Grand Rapids, Ely and Burnsville
Still, foundation support and ticket sales have steadily declined since 2009.
But Fields says that doesn't this doesn't necessarily mark the end for the company. Fields, a resident of the Twin Ciites, wants to relocate the company to the metro area with a new board, under a new name.
"I want to come up with a viable method to produce opera in the Twin Cities and tour it to places like Duluth," says Fields. "My vision would be to produce opera on a smaller scale but with the same quality singing as the Minnesota Opera."
Fields says he admires the work of companies like Mixed Precipitation, which bring opera to unusual settings in order to reach new audiences.
"You close a door and a new one opens," says Fields. "We had a great eight year ride, and we're trying to end on a positive note."