The skin is just a vessel for our stories.

Photo by @mamsphotography/Amanda Bush


I write first and foremost for myself. Because unless I write, I don’t feel good about myself. Maybe, after all these decades, it’s just what I’m used to. It’s where my worth lives. I also write to pass on that indescribable feeling where you read something that makes you feel so heard and so seen and so connected that you’re elated for days afterward. My writing doesn’t aim to end on a positive note, it aims to end on a truthful note. It aims to land where the story actually landed, after I’ve massaged an idea for years, and marinated it beyond belief, in an effort to find it’s core meaning. I write to connect to the deepest parts of myself, and share that feeling or mood with others. I read to do the same. When I write, although it is personal writing, it feels more like I am channeling something bigger than me.

In my twenty years of writing, I have come to understand its importance is so much more than coming up with a story. Writing is an act of rebellion. It is a form of protest. In many cases, it is a path to justice or redemption. It can mean liberation. Through writing and publishing, we all possess an inherent power. Think of all the underprivileged, abused, and silenced among us. Then imagine reading a book and gaining their perspective. With courage, we humans can set our own stories straight.

The classic diary to me is such a symbol of hope. It can be used as a nonviolent weapon to combat assaults of all kinds. When I was abused as a child, pages of my diary were later photocopied and used as evidence in court. So now I believe that every eleven-year-old should have a diary. If they’re fortunate, those pages will contain innocent descriptions of a carefree childhood. If they’re unfortunate, I want them to know that those same blank pages can carry them home to themselves, and become literal records of their truths. There is nothing more intimate than a story. For better or for worse. Although I’ve found it’s almost always for the better.


I am an indie author with four published books: Dreams of a Rocking Pony (2021), Earthside and Other Everyday Miracles (2020), New Moon: Transformative Poetry & Quotes for Soul-Searchers and Independent Folk (2016) and Love, Blues, Balance: A Collection of Poetry (2014).

My personal essays have appeared in The Manifest Station, The Purpled Nail, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, and Sad Girls Club Literary Blog. A four-year-old named Autumn calls me mama.

Email me at terahvandusen@gmail.com to chat writing.


Mama Bird