Here’s a little diversion from the holiday madness that I hope you’ll enjoy!
They said what?
I love the things people say. The wilder, most impassioned, the better. In fact, I enjoy it so much I have a habit of writing down the pithiest sentence I hear every day. Sometimes it’s something said to me, and other times it’s in a conversation I overhear while writing. Try these on for size:
“When I turned 50, my eyebrows went haywire.”
“D’you want bacon in your peanut brittle?”
“You know, every time you go on one of your damn trips, the jet’s pollution destroys a bathtub-sized chunk of ice from the ice caps.”
“No, you cannot just text your sister that you never want to see her again.”
“Seriously! Big Foot was in my neighbor’s garden last week.”
“While you’re at it, grab me a Venti Iced Skinny Hazelnut Macchiato, sugar-free syrup, extra shot, light ice, double whip.”
“Grandma, you look like a banana in that outfit.”
Ah, my collection is a goldmine, scribbled in a book– these little snippets of people’s lives. Sometimes they make me laugh – and other times, I’m chilled to the bone by the intensity of the words, the aftershock lasting long into the week. But they always make me stop and reflect. They restore my compassion for humans – this never-ending desire to communicate; to be heard; to participate in this ever-changing, often frightening world we live in.
1: Last week I had a marvelous experience speaking at the National Association of Memoir Writers’ Virtual Book Club. Check it out! How great it was to chat with so many women about writing the hard stuff!
2: Another anthology! My short story, “Voices That Matter,” about teaching students how to write and perform TED Talks, was chosen for a short story collection, edited by Lois Stern. It’s called The Opal Collection. (The Opal is the symbol for the encouragement of positive emotions and teaches us that what we put out comes back to us. These are the underlying messages of this collection of Stronger Today stories.) Here’s what’s being said about it: Absolutely Brilliant! Editor/Publisher Lois W. Stern has worked her magic once again, discovering a diversity of talented award-winning authors and their truly remarkable stories that you’re certain to find impossible to put down!
I’m told this will soon be a major television event, and I can’t wait. The book was fabulous, in a nail-biting kind of way. It’s the story of the climax of one of the greatest political battles in American history: the ratification of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote. Ladies! Learn about who fought to the finish…who gave YOU the right to cast your ballot.
Vanya is the award-winning author of Boot Language. She’s spent decades teaching writing as well as mentoring educators in the oldest, continuously used schoolhouse in California. Her essays have appeared in a dozen literary journals and anthologies. Find out more about Vanya at www.vanyaerickson.com.