The Story Behind DRIVEN

Snuggled safely in my bed, my mother would regale me with stories of my maternal grandmother, who came into her prime before women won the right to vote in 1920. Mom,  who’d usually clam up when asked for details in daily life, never held back. As a result, hers were riveting retellings – and I…

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Emily’s Backstory (The Protagonist)

Emily Winstead is the daughter of an influential socialite. As a result, Emily was given opportunities many other girls didn’t have. When Emily turned two, her mother’s best friend,  “aunt” Florence, put Emily on Maggie, a great beast of a white horse, her little legs warmed by the mare’s flanks. In no time, riding became…

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Naming Characters

Through the years, I’ve answered to many different names: Linda, Chuckwagon, Cactus, Vanya,  Lasagna, V, Mom, Mami, and Nana, to name more than a few. With each stage of my life came a new name – a new persona, something I find endlessly fascinating.  I’m a name geek. I’ve been known to stare at an…

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Boot Language Prologue

Spring, 1972 I ditched my math class, heading straight for the high school parking lot through the tall dry grass, in back of the science wing. Funny how our community cared so much about the manicured lawn and flowerbeds and left the hidden stuff uncared for. I slumped over onto the front seat of my…

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Remembering – Published on Sweet, a Literary Confection

The scream was a deep, miserable thing that flew out of my mouth, gushing into the room like rusty water bursting from a pipe. I gripped the edge of your crib and watched the graying of your skin; marveled at your beautiful lips, parted as if you were still breathing. My spirit ripped away, and…

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Magic of Memoir

Vanya Erickson-Magic of Memoir

The Magic of Memoir is a memoirist’s companion for when the going gets tough. Editors Linda Joy Myers and Brooke Warner have taught and coached hundreds of memoirists to the completion of their memoirs, and they know that the journey is fraught with belittling messages from both the inner critic and naysayers, voices that make it…

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14 Things That Made Me Who I Am

1 – Three days after I was born I was found in a pool of blood, while my mother placed her hand on my chest and whispered prayers. My grandfather rushed me to the hospital, but it was the black man who was waiting for his child to be born upstairs, who offered up his…

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The Hackamore

Me At Age 11

Dad was infamous for the “jobs” he created for us on weekends, vacations, or any time there was a spare moment, especially if he heard giggling. Back then I thought nothing of these tasks: sharpening knives and tool blades with a massive kick-wheel whetstone; watering an acre of five-gallon saplings with a weak hose in…

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Mom and Dad

My father was a self-proclaimed atheist, but he had a secret place of worship beneath the trees. His temple, an old army cot dragged under a massive avocado tree he named Susan. Her branches, heavy and abundant, leaned close and enveloped him, offering protection from the world outside. His religious canon varied, but Edgar Allan…

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