Vanya Erickson used to photograph and haul horses for a living. Her favorite memory of that time was loading a draft horse onto a plane bound for the King Ranch in Hawaii. Always a lover of words, for the last 25 years she has been teaching writing and public speaking, as well as mentoring teachers in the oldest, continuously used schoolhouse in California. She’s an active volunteer with Hospice Santa Cruz, where she helps patients write to their loved ones. Firmly believing everyone has a story to tell, she uses music to help jostle the memories of her patients. She loves hiking the High Sierras and coastal redwood forests, as well as dramatically reading aloud to children. Vanya holds a BA in Comparative Literature as well as a Teaching Credential, both from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Her essays have appeared in a dozen literary journals and anthologies, and in the book, The Magic of Memoir.