New York Times Bestselling Author Cheryl Strayed spoke at the SRC Arena & Events Center Wednesday, September 28. She discussed her memoir, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” which tells the story of her transformational journey. Following her lecture Strayed signed copies of “Wild.”
Strayed was in her 20s when her mother died at a young age after a brief illness, her family scattered and her marriage crumbled. She made the most impulsive decision of her life when, with no experience or training, she hiked more than 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail which spans from the bottom of California to the top of Washington state. “It was during my journey I came to terms with my life and became in touch with my rage about my mother’s death,” Strayed said. “I needed to get to the other side of my grief. The trail enabled me to do that.” In 2014 “Wild” was turned into a movie starring Academy Award winning actress Reese Witherspoon.
Strayed’s “Wild” is being read by students campus-wide as part of a year-long common read. “It’s literary. She has a reading list she refers to throughout the book. I love that. Someone who is carrying a heavy backpack still made sure to carry literature. She was sending resupply boxes ahead of her and they always included books. I felt that would sit well in a literature class,” said Reading Professor Pam Mullan who helped organize the Common Read. “This theme identifies almost all of our students. Most students come to OCC as one person and transform into another person,” added Reading Professor Sophia Marku who is also one of the event organizers.
Numerous campus activities are being conducted in conjunction with the Common Read including:
- Photography exhibit which consists of students holding signs stating their goals for the semester.
- Challenges in Coulter Library which correspond to dates when Strayed reached certain locations on her hike.
- Journal making, photo booth and graffiti activities in the Gordon Student Center.
- Screening of the movie “Wild” on campus.
Strayed’s lecture is part of the College’s outstanding lineup of Arts Across Campus events. You can view the entire list here.