A former Marine, award-winning military journalist and a University of Tampa professor, Tracy Crow, recently had a short story accepted into a novel of military fiction.
In the 1980s Crow’s work were published in a number of military and civilian publications.
For the past two years, Tracy Crow has been a visiting assistant professor for writing and journalism at the University of Tampa.
‘This is my last semester at UT. Bittersweet, I can tell,’ Crow said.
The story ‘Natural Selection’ is based on her true-life experience when she was in the Marines for ten years.
Crow said, ‘Natural Selection is the story about what it means to be a woman, a Marine and a wife during the Cold War era of the 1980s.
‘When Kelly Durham, the only woman on a military training exercise, becomes gravely ill, she faces the toughest decision of her young life.’
Crow was faced with this decision: Will Durham ask for help, thus proving what the men already think — a woman is less equal to the task? Or, will she, for the first time since joining the Marines, abandon martyrdom for the sake of her health, and even her marriage?
The truest version of the story is a book-length memoir project. Since this chapter had always been the most popular among her readers, she decided to change the memoir into a short story.
‘Doing so was harder than I imagined,’ Crow said. ‘I felt I needed to imprint a deeper level of symbolism that, frankly, was there all along in the memoir, though more subdued.’
Writing the short story version of Crow’s experience provided a clearer vision about the damage that was to come.
Jeff Hess, editor of ‘Home of the Brave’ and grad school friend, encouraged Crow to go deeper in her story.
Hess developed the idea for a military fiction anthology. Crow said, ‘His vision, which he turned into reality, was to include work from distinguished writers such as Tim O’Brien, Tobias Wolff, Kurt Vonnegut, Chris Offutt, and Joseph Heller to name a few, alongside emerging writers, which is where I fit in.
‘Of course, the story I submitted had to pass acceptance by Jeff and his publisher at Press 53. Best part, a significant portion of the proceeds from this anthology will be directed to an organization that provides support for our wounded veterans.’
Home of the Brave: Stories in Uniform will be released Memorial Day 2009.
This is Crow’s last year at the University of Tampa. She will continue to pursue her writing with several book-length projects underway while teaching at Eckerd College.
‘I’m taking with me wonderful memories of all my UT students who have taught me as , if not more, as I have taught them.’ Crow said.