Rough hewn and about as well lived in a book as you’re ever going to read, Tanya Schroeder’s aptly described ‘surf memoir’ Fall Hard is an inspiring, self-published book about emotional and spiritual upheaval, torment and, ultimately, discovery and triumph.
We meet Tanya on the ebb, hungover, her boyfriend moving out, empty inside. She has blowouts with booze, cigarettes, friends, knowing deep within that something isn’t right… there’s something she can be doing that’s better for herself. A lifeline is offered when she decides to revisit a years old wish to learn to surf. Taking up with her brother and some friends, she begins, on a board that isn’t hers, a long journey to self, finding and losing lovers, traveling to countries and islands, investigating a number of modalities such as reiki, bodywork and yoga, with surfing remaining the one constant other than her deep inner voice…a voice she gradually begins to realize is her spirit guide. And as she gradually begins to listen to her spirit guide, things begin to manifest in a way they only can when one is truly on one’s own path.
I went into this book, I’m now discovering, with a very judgmental mindset. I’m at heart an editor, a finicky proofreading editor who cannot stand incorrect punctuation and grammar. I knew going in this book was going to challenge my expectations of what is good and true as far as my own ordered little world goes, and Tanya even said to me, pre-read, that she ‘writes like she lives’ or something similar. And so while reading, I was editing, red pen held high. She and I never got together to go over my edits, and she’s on take four or five of the revisions since then, and who cares, right? What I realized, as I re-read the book as a casual observer was this: this book is written with fucking gusto, heart, soul. It’s written to move the reader, making you more than just- my words- a casual observer. You can’t be casual after imbibing the elixir Tanya pours. You can’t just read this book and put it down and think ‘OK, that was cool, good job, girl, I’m going to go get some wine and coffee and watch “30 Rock” now. No, that doesn’t happen with this book.
No…what happens with this book is you finish it, stand up and say out loud “OK, dammit, I can go find that island I’ve always wanted to live on. I can teach that vocal/yoga/writing/dance/whatever class I’ve always wanted to give, because I AM amazing. I can go manifest the dreams I’ve sat on since I was eight or ten or whenever, because the world gives back what I put in, my heart gives out what I see and seek within, and all worlds being equal, this Earth we’re on is a pretty damn beautiful one, and I’m going to go see what’s out there. At the very least, that’s what this book made me want to do. I advise you seek it out, find Tanya, find her words, do whatever you can to be inspired. Even if you don’t read this book, find yourself, for you and for all of us. Find your own light within and move out and touch someone. I think that’s the main point of her words. Don’t go do what I did, but go do something, and do it well. You’ll be all the better for it, and full of love.
Thanks, darling, for the opportunity to read your story. Thanks, and be well.