Calm and confident, author D.M. Ditson stands at the rickety black metal music stand. She glances around the room, the smiling faces of trusted friends looking back at her inside Invermere’s Mountain Hub. She takes another breath, looks down at the pages, and begins to read.
Ms. Ditson, an author and reporter, has been leading up to this moment since she was a little girl and the disconnect between what was told to her and what she noticed seemed off. Since she was a teenager, and people in authority laughed at what they should have taken seriously. Since she was an adult, facing the most excruciating moments of her life. Since she spiralled downwards, her body literally convulsing from the trauma stored in her cells. Since she sought recovery from sexual assault and post-traumatic stress disorder. Since she took pen to paper and began to write her way through her journey, then share – ever so carefully – her words as she found healing. Since her words turned into paragraphs turned into pages turned into chapters turned into a book.
Wide Open was released on May 1. The reading at Mountain Hub was a practice event in preparation for a whirlwind book tour launch in the spring that took Ms. Ditson across three provinces and drew national media attention including a live interview with CTV, four CBC radio interviews that aired from Saskatchewan to British Columbia, and even a mention in the Globe and Mail.
Each book launch includes Ms. Ditson reading several excerpts from her book, a short talk and a question and answer session.
The response has been positive and encouraging to the book so far, she said. Reviewers have heaped high praise on the book, from calling it the ‘must-read memoir of the year’ to ‘a brave and powerful’ story. An Amazon review said it was a great book that will help many people. It is to that end Ms. Ditson is sharing her experience.
“I wanted to share my story in order to help other people see there’s a way out,” she said. “It’s been exhilarating for me to be able to share it and have it resonate with other people and have it help and support them.”
While Wide Open covers very heavy topics, expect the book launch to show the triumphant and positive arc of the story, on how to make a good life again after something hard happens.
“The book is about sexual assault, post-traumatic stress disorder, and recovery. It’s pretty raw, it’s pretty graphic, and it shows exactly how I clawed my way out of the throes of that illness,” she said. But, “even though there are a lot of painful parts to my story, I think overall it’s a really positive message.”
Ms. Ditson is embarking on a fall book tour with Book Launch and Recovery Conversations open to everyone at the Creston Valley Public Library at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19.