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Cleo Wade on the Post-It Note Message That Inspired Her Next Book

The bestselling poet Skimms Her Life and shares the sweet inspiration behind "Remember Love."
Cleo Wade
October 17, 2023

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Skimm Her Life is a series in our weekly newsletter, Skimm Your Life, where smart women share their favorite things.

Our Internet BFF, Cleo Wade, is here in honor of her brand new book “Remember Love,” which is officially out today. The poet and bestselling author (also deemed “Millennial Oprah”) is unpacking her writing process, blanket sweaters, inspirations, and so much more.

For our readers that might be new to you, what would you like them to know? Give us theSkimm on what they can expect from your books.

I write books I hope can be companions for life’s tough moments. My books are friends when you really need one. I write for the moments we feel the most alone. The intent behind every word whether it is a poem or a short essay — is to hold my reader’s hand when they don’t feel okay. And remind them that a path to okay-ness is possible.

How does “Remember Love” differ from “Heart Talk” and “Where to Begin”?

It is very different, while still being very me, so I feel my readers will feel the comfort of a familiar friend. “Remember Love” really gets into the nitty-gritty of what I think we are all going through right now. I also tell more stories from my own life. How I have moved through change, lostness, depression, anxiety, and learning to let go. Much of this book is about how I found my light when I was stumbling around in the dark. These past few years have been challenging for all of us.

You have a community that loves to share their stories with you. What do you find is the most common theme people are asking for guidance on?

There is nothing I have been asked about more than how to deal with having your heart broken into a million pieces. Part three of this book is called “Notes On Heartbreak.” I reflected on my own breakups, what I‘ve learned from my friends' breakups, and I wrote a lot of poems to just be there for my readers as their hearts mend.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

My best friend Sade Lythcott once told me, “Your life experiences are only as valuable as your ability to turn them into life lessons.” That advice has guided much of my life and my career.

Is there a phrase or mantra that you always go back to?

There is a page in “Remember Love” that says “Enough-ness is not a mountain, it is a mirage of a mountain. You do not need to climb it, you need to walk through it.” Reminding myself that who I am, what I have, and what I could do that day is enough has helped so much with my anxiety.

What was always on your desk when you were writing “Remember Love”?

I like to be surrounded by the writers that made me want to be a writer. There is always a Mary Oliver, Maya Angelou, and Pema Chodron book on my desk. I don't read them when I am writing, I just like having the energy there. Sage, always. A mini speaker for music (Psst…here’s our pick for one). I shared a “Remember Love” playlist that compiles every song I listened to when I was writing this book. I also kept a Post-It on my desk that said “Please Remember Love."

What did you read for inspiration before writing your latest book?

Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, and Nora Ephron. I write nothing like any of them which is very helpful to stay inspired, but not get too influenced by the tone of something you enjoy.

Your current favorite security blanket sweater?

My security blanket sweater life is so real. I am a La Ligne gal. They have a sweater right now I love called the Marcel. Size up so it's loose and cozy.

Your go-to outfit for long writing days?

I like to wear jeans when I’m writing so I am not too comfortable. Cozy, but not sleepy. I just don’t button the top button because I’m not crazy. I thrift vintage Levi's. I also really love Slvrlake Denim. I wear a button-up with a sweater most days.

What is your writing process like?

The most important part of my process is that I don’t believe in writer's block. When the words aren’t flowing, I usually take it as a sign I should be listening instead of talking or writing. I call my friends; I check in on them. I read something new. I watch a favorite movie. I try to relax until I can hear something helpful coming up in my heart.

Psst: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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