What’s Happening in June


I promise not to swamp you with newsletters, just an occasional update. Thank you for being part of my posse.

Vanya Erickson NewsletterSomething my older sister Margery said to me recently, stopped me short. We were walking a path above the ocean, telling tales of being exhausted – realizing that although we’re both retired, we’re still waking early and staying up late, overloaded with obligations. I suggested we get away. Idyllic vacation spots were offered into the air: New Zealand, Fiji, the Big Island.  A place we didn’t have to plan a dang thing, just relax and catch up.

“How ‘bout this fall?” Margery asked.

I shook my head. “I don’t have time until the fall of 2019, maybe spring of 2020.”

She stopped dead still and stared at me. “I’ve been thinking it might be best not to put things off that are important.” She arched one eyebrow and breathed hard.

That little exhalation hit me. Hard. She and I share a genetic blood disease that affects our lungs. Losing the ease of breath – but not the love of hiking will likely play out dramatically as we age.

Of course, I already knew not to put off important things.  And you know it too. But most of us spend our lives darting from one rabbit hole and down the next. We need reminding. Whether we’re healthy or not, our lives can be forever altered in the snap of a finger. Don’t put things off that really matter. Tell your children you love them. Rekindle friendships. Volunteer. Make a difference.

Thank you, big sis, for reminding me to wake up and take care of the big stuff.

What’s on my bedside table

I just finished Educated, by Tara Westover. It’s an unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.  Riveting!


Vanya has spent decades teaching writing and public speaking, as well as mentoring educators in the oldest, continuously used schoolhouse in California. Her essays have appeared in a dozen literary journals and anthologies, and in the book, The Magic of Memoir. Her book, Boot Language, comes out this summer.

Book Update

Just three months until it’s here!  Last week I was interviewed for the podcast, Stories that Empower, where I talked about writing Boot Language – specifically about gratitude, grit, and acceptance. What an experience! (I’ll let you know when it’s uploaded.)


  1. Laura Davis on May 29, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for the reminder, Vanya. It was great to read. So, did you make a plan with your sister? I know I’ve been getting closer to my brother lately and it feels really good.

  2. Vanya on June 11, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    Thanks! Yes, we were terribly excited about our plan to head to the Big Island but then came the news of massive volcanic activity – and poor air quality. Waah! For now, I’ve planned several summer
    weekends at her place in the Berkeley hills. So great to reconnect!

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