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Memoir by Creative Writing Professor Tracy Crow Reveals Life as a Woman Marine

posted on 04/24/2012

Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine is the personal story of Tracy Crow, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Eckerd College. The memoir was published this month by University of Nebraska Press and has garnered international attention.
Click here to read a review by the Tampa Bay Times
Click here to read an excerpt

Hailey Escobar '15 sat down with Professor Crow to learn more her book, which offers a rare inside look at the Marines from a woman's perspective.

She is known as a valued member of Eckerd's Creative Writing faculty and serves as the faculty advisor for The Current, the student newspaper. Her positive attitude, body of work and love of chocolate are well known. However, there are still some things that Eckerd's student body doesn't know about Professor Tracy Crow. In her new book, Eyes Right, Professor Crow looks back on her childhood, military career and her life in general. This memoir serves as an example of what amazing things a woman can accomplish despite the odds. Professor Crow was kind enough to give us a bit of a look at the book and what it means to her.

Tracy Crow

Tell us briefly what you talk about in your book.
If I were to sum it up quickly, I'd say the book is about overcoming an abusive childhood, breaking the cycle of alcoholism within my family, taking enormous risks in the Marines -- determined to prove I belonged -- and ultimately sacrificing everything for the larger good.

What inspired you to put pen to paper and write a memoir about your experience?
Actually, it's who inspired me, rather than what inspired me. Professor of Creative Writing Helen Wallace, on learning about a few of my military experiences, encouraged me to write about them for her memoir class. Until then, I hadn't thought anyone would care about my story. Through the process of writing, revising, and workshopping various chapters, I learned that my experiences, while unique to me, still address certain universal themes.

How did you feel about journalism after you left the military?
I spent ten years as a military journalist. I left journalism after the Marines because I was a single mother by that point and realized a journalist's salary and 24-hour lifestyle wasn't ideal for my daughter. By then, I felt she'd suffered enough with a mom who had been a Marine journalist on call 24 hours for ten years.

What do you hope people will take away from your book?
Every generation of women for the past 100 years has broken ground in some way. Certainly, my generation was no different. Yet I've found little has been written about my generation. My wish is that this book will spark discussions about our contributions. For better or for worse, women in today's military would not be serving in Iraq or Afghanistan if not for my generation.

What would you tell students at Eckerd about your book and your experience?
I learned recently that a number of Eckerd women are passing around a copy of the book and having lively discussions about the themes. This thrills me. They tell me they weren't at all aware of the problems of sexism and sexual harassment we faced in the 1980s. On one hand, this may indicate we've come so far as a society that our young women today don't have to consider such dilemmas. Oh, how I wish. I hope this book promotes an awakening for them. I hope they learn from the book that whatever mistakes they personally make in their twenties and thirties -- with regard to career and leadership decisions for example, and they will make plenty -- are still surmountable. I also hope they discover from this book that a certain level of risk taking in life is invaluable while too much may have, as in my case, life-threatening consequences.

Click here to read Professor Crow's blog

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