In the introduction of Cleo Wade’s Where to Begin, the author explains what inspired her to write this book:
“The book is a collection of the ideas, mantras, and poems I turn to when I feel like I’m losing it…The words in this book are what stop me from walking away from the problems of the world during tough times. They also help me stay connected to hope during difficult moments and remind me that even on the days that feel the most daunting, I still have the power to show up and do something, somewhere, in some way.”
Where to Begin is just that: a reminder that no matter the circumstances, you have the ability to change yourself, your loved ones, your community, and even the world. It addresses fear, worry, and anxiety with tough love and encouragement. Through her poetry and essays, Cleo Wade beautifully encourages us to embrace the notion that we are greater and more powerful than any excuse we could ever make for not showing up, and that by just one small moment, you can make an impact.
Read Out of Order
The author opens her book with her poem, “Where to Begin,” which is broken down to fill 91 pages. Cleo encourages readers to read the poem out loud – just like how poetry should be read – and to read it in any order they so choose: from the beginning to end, end to beginning, or even random pages in the middle. Each page of the poem serves as a daily mantra or affirmation:
“Find truth in the stories you are told.”
“We cannot overcome what we ignore.”
“Change-making does not belong to one group of people.”
I found myself taking Cleo’s advice to heart and randomly opened the book to this challenge:
Through her essays, poetry, and musings, the author ruminates on the destruction of silence, the healing power of kindness, and listening to that inner voice that tells you to stand up and fight. Cleo Wade’s words may have been her personal thoughts and ideas, but she has gifted them to all of us in the hope that they become our own.
Wreck This Book (With Love)
One thing you will notice in this book is the amount of space the author leaves on her pages. This is completely intentional as Cleo encourages readers to fill the pages with their own words, notes, and introspection. Outlined words invite readers to color in the blank spaces and create art. She even leaves an entire section for you to contribute your own ideas and thoughts to the book, making it a joint effort between author and reader and building a sense of community and belonging to each other.
How should you treat this book? The author put it best when she claimed,
“If there is anything I hope you will walk away with from this book it is that I hope you won’t walk away from it at all. I hope you will live with it, write in it, and even color in it.”
Essentially, Cleo Wade’s Where to Begin deserves more than just being another book that once finished, sits on a bookshelf and collects dust. It deserves to be dog-eared, spine bent, ink splattered, and pencil smudged. It deserves your time, reflection, recommendation, and love.
Buy Cleo Wade’s Where to Begin here.
You can find more of our book recommendations, including the works that are helping us work on ourselves, here.
Julie believes great books should be read more than once and prides herself on finding the "dirty part" in any romance novel under a minute. Loves red wine but loves it more when shared with friends. Has an (embarrassingly) extensive knowledge about all things Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl. Is currently curating the perfect playlists that ALWAYS include a song from one of the Twilight soundtracks.