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Storyteller captivates with a tale of sexual abuse

Adventure journalist and writer Tracy Ross on Friday, Feb. 8, visited Sierra Nevada College for both her visiting writer workshop and her reading.

“The Source of All Things” was the title of the book she read excerpts from, but before she began she started with a bit of history.

Ross is a survivor of sexual abuse and made it by looking to nature, which her stepfather taught her how to love. While she told us the ending, she left many of the details a mystery.

sexual abuse

“She never went into the amazing detail that she is so talented at,” said Junior Ben Currier.

Abuse not being the easiest topic to talk about, especially publicly, Ross made the audience laugh with her humor.

“Forgiveness is possible,” said Ross in regards to her father.

While working for Skiing Magazine her editor wanted her to find, climb and name her own mountain, but when that fell through her editor asked what else she needed to do out in nature.

Ross told her editor her story and she was sent out to the Sawtooth mountain range in Idaho to confront her stepfather, or dad, as she referred to him.

“Nothing is wrong with going after the answers you need,” said Ross.

In order for her own healing to begin, Ross needed to confront her dad and get the truth.

The audience was amazed at the strength she had to survive, in her captivating story telling.

While listening to Ross read, it was hard to tell when she was giving background details and reading because the book shared her personality.

sexual abuse

“I think she broke it up into a very interesting way. I like how it wasn’t just strictly reading or strictly talking, she mixed them both in,” said Currier. “And at some points you couldn’t even tell if she was talking or reading from the book. The way she allotted her time was also very impressive because she used it perfectly, spent enough time on each part of her life journey.”

She loves writing as much as being out in nature and so it isn’t difficult for her to come back and write.

Some advice she offers upcoming writers or journalist is to pick up copies of Best American Sports Writing and Best American Travel Writing.

“Pick four mentors to study. Study their stories and mimic their styles,” said Ross.

Her workshop that occurred earlier in the day from 2 to 5 p.m. was well received.

“The best part was when somebody asked about the structure of a travel article and she read one of her articles from start to finish,” said Senior Kenny Stoneman. “As she went she said ‘OK you notice how I did this, this is standard in travel writing’ and later she’d say ‘you see this, this is not standard in travel writing.’ And she went through it really well.”

Ross’s workshop was focused on her travel writing more than her book that she read.

“Travel writing can actually be a lot like fiction writing, which was really interesting,” said Stoneman. “Her stuff read more like a miniature thriller novel.”

Videos by: Matthew Eberle

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