Carolyn Wood, author of Tough Girl, will discuss Aging Adventures

Carolyn Wood, author of Tough Girl:
An Olympian’s Journey will discuss Aging Adventures: Overcoming Obstacles
Tuesday, August 8 | 3 to 5pm
Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita
Admittance fee is $5 


Carolyn will read from her book Tough Girl and lead a discussion about aging adventures, going for new (or old) dreams and creating a practice that supports those dreams.

Carolyn will share thoughts about aging, readings from her journals along the Camino related to aging, “coming to terms with being alone and being frightened of being alone.” She’ll raise ideas of the value of “practice,” what we choose to practice we get good at. What are you choosing?

Carolyn will share a short writing prompt for participants to write down their own dreams of activities/trips they still want to pursue.

Carolyn Wood is living a life worth reading about.  An Olympic swimming champion at age 14 and a slowly emerging gay person in an earlier, less understanding era, she has been resolutely the “Tough Girl” of her book title.  Beautifully written, the book artfully weaves her life story around the tale of her long walk on the Camino de Santiago, an effort to understand and accept the end of a decades-long marriage.   This memoir could easily become a favorite of  American literature teachers and their students.    —George Vogt, Retired Executive Director, Oregon Historical Society

A life long Oregonian, Carolyn grew up in southwest Portland and attended Beaverton High School.  In the summer of her freshman year she competed and won a gold medal in swimming at the 1960 summer Olympics in Rome.  She raced nationally and internationally for three more years before attending the University of Oregon.

After graduation in 1967, Carolyn began a thirty-five year career teaching high school English, first at her alma mater, then at Lake Oswego, Glencoe and Wilson high schools.  During that time she earned a Masters of Social Work and an MS Education from Portland State University.  A fellow of the Oregon Writing Project, Carolyn wrote with her students over the years, attended writing workshops and retreats, published a poem here and an essay there and promised herself that someday she’d “pull those writings together and tell her story.”  In 2010 she began to write TOUGH GIRL: An Olympian’s Journey, her first book.

Even though Carolyn remains deeply rooted in Oregon, life’s journeys have taken her far:  working as governess for the Robert Kennedy family the year after the senator’s murder, backpacking throughout the Oregon and Washington Cascades, exploring Europe, Africa, India and Asia, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, trekking in the Himalayas and Alps, walking a thousand miles across France and Spain on the Camino de Santiago.  Volunteer work after retirement with Habitat for Humanity International, Medical Teams Northwest (Mexico), Wilderness Volunteers, and Coffee Creek Corrections have furthered her education.  These days her explorations include yoga and meditation as well as gardening and bee keeping.

The Art of Aging/of Dying Series is a program of the Hoffman Center of the Arts and will be held at the Hoffman Center (across from Manzanita Library at 594 Laneda Ave). For more information Kathie Hightower at

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