Terese Mailhot

This week’s episode is not only about breaking silence, but also about the ways that silence is often a pile-on due to multiple layers of silencing. This week’s guest, Terese Mailhot, author of Heart Berries, is the ideal author to wall us through what makes breaking silence both difficult and compelling for writers. We also touch upon cultural appropriation, marginalizing and compartmentalizing voices, and the complexities of being raised by a radical mother.


Terese Marie Mailhot is from Seabird Island Band. Her work has appeared in Guernica, Pacific Standard, Granta, Mother Jones, Medium, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Heart Berries. Heart Berries has won numerous awards and has been named Best Book of the Year by NPR, Library Journal, and Harper’s Bazaar, among others. She is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award, the Electra Quinney Award for Published Stories, a Clara Johnson Award, and she is also the recipient of the Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature. She teaches creative writing at Purdue University.


b: william bearhart
Rebecca Roanhorse
Sherwin Bitsui
Jake Skeets
Millie Kingbird
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby
Mamaskatch, by Derrel J. McLeod

Takeaway: Take a Step Toward Breaking Silence

If you’ve already broken your silence then you know it’s really scary at first, and that over time it gets easier to be with, and that ultimately it offers a deep release, and the opportunity for healing. But there’s no one right way to do it, and it’s important to do it in stages. If you’re going to go public with something that’s been a secret for your whole life, make sure you have either a therapist or a close ally who can walk beside you. Because you will feel scared. Start by journaling. Then share a piece with a friend, and then with a stranger. Once you realize you’re going to be okay on the other side of sharing, then you might post something online, or try to write a piece for public sharing. Again, take this in small steps. Incremental movements. You got this.

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