The Geeky Press/Youshare Project Reading Series, Vol. 1

Our inaugural reading series with the Youshare Project took place on Friday, July 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Metonymy Media in Fountain Square in Indianapolis.

Here’s how it worked. For the last several months, the Youshare Project and The Geeky Press asked writers to submit personal essays about a single theme:”The moment everything changed.” Throughout the next few months, Youshare will feature all of those submissions. You can find them here. (Sign up for their newsletter, and you’ll get updates.)

The Youshare team curated eight stories, and The Geeky Press invited those folks to come read. Those who couldn’t make it had proxy readers. Those that have already been published have links in the title. We’ll update this link with the other stories as they hit the Youshare Project website.

If you’re interested in what we’re doing, make sure you sign up for our semi-regular newsletter of awesome writing things. And if you live in the Indianapolis area join the THE GEEKY PRESS WRITERS MEET UP, and keep up to date on all of our reading series and events.

“The Moment Everything Changed”

Ellen Santasiero, “Breaking Free” (Read by Amber Peckham)

Ellen Santasiero spent her teen years in Indiana. She now writes and teaches creative writing in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and cat. Facebook and LinkedIn.

Brad King, “The Hardest Place to Live in America”

Brad King is an author + magazine journalist. He earned his masters in journalism from Cal-Berkeley in 2000, and he’s written and worked for dozens of magazines, including Wired, Cincinnati Magazine, Business 2.0, and MIT’s Technology Review. He currently teaches graduate school at Ball State, and runs The Geeky Press with Amber Peckham and Nicole Mathew. He’s working on two books, Catch: An Oral History of Life and Baseball that traces how the game has shaped the interpersonal relationships of fans, and So Far Appalachia, a memoir about his family’s 200-year history living in the region and the home of his essay “The Hardest Place to Live in America,” which he’ll be reading tonight.

Tonya Bergeson-Dana, “Crash” (Read by Jessica Beer)

Tonya Bergeson-Dana is a cognitive developmental psychologist who co-founded The Urban Chalkboard, a play cafe and learning studio in Carmel, Indiana. She’s also a professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department at Butler University. She has published mostly academic articles in scientific journals. She and her business partner, Jessica Beer, won a Bronze Award from the Parenting Media Association for their “Research to Real World” column in Indy’s Child Magazine. You can find Crash: A Memoir on Facebook.

Sheryl Louise Rivett, “Traction” (Read by Ashlee Blewett)

Youshare Ambassador and Editor Sheryl Louise Rivett is an essayist, fiction writer, and educator. She holds MA and MFA degrees in creative writing. Her work has appeared in various publications and her essay “Inheritance,” an essay about intergenerational illness, has won critical review. In her writing and volunteer work, she advocates for better diagnostics and treatment for chronic illness, the elimination of disparities in maternity care, and full agency in women’s health. She dabbles in visual art, often incorporating art into prose projects. Currently she is at work on a memoir, Misperceptions, and novel, Finding Evelyn.

Ashlee Blewett, “Hungry for Air”

Ashlee is co-founder and editor of the Youshare Project. She also writes and edits personal essays and children’s nonfiction. Her most recent book projects include editing National Geographic Kids: Weird But True: Ripped from the Headlines 3 (2016), and writing National Geographic Kids: Hoot, Hoot, Hooray!: And More True Stories of Amazing Animal Rescues (2015). You can also find the Youshare Project on FacebookInstagram & Twitter.

Callie J. Smith, “When Dreams Go Away”

Callie Smith is a writer and clergy person based in Indianapolis. She works at Christian Theological Seminary, where she’s liaison to the Religion, Spirituality and Arts initiative with Butler University. She’s published children’s fiction, written for Branches magazine, and enjoyed performing original one-woman dramatic pieces.

Mackenzie Lauka, “The Reality of Retail”

Mackenzie Lauka is a social media aficionado, book blogger, and aspiring author. On her blog, Stories & Scripts, she posts non-traditional reviews, where she pulls out the themes and messages of both stories and movies and turns them into lessons and takeaways for her readers. Born in California, and growing up in Ohio, she just recently moved to Indianapolis in October to work for Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity as their inaugural Associate Director of Education, and Mackenzie is enjoying exploring her new city. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Rachelle Wood, “My Defining Moment, or, How a Tomato Changed My Life”

Rachelle is a young writer, reader, and blogger living in Indianapolis. By day, she works with non-profits across the country to help them raise money at fundraising events, and by night, she is a leader in her local writing community. She’s traveled to over 35 countries, enjoys any chance to dress up for theme parties, and loves to drink wine. Lots and lots of wine. You can also find her on Instagram.


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This newsletter is the outgrowth of The Downtown Writers Jam podcast. What that means is I will collect information about the authors I interview, book happenings around the Web, and other literary events that I find interesting. Without you, I'm just a crazy guy sitting in his office furiously screaming on the page for no reason.
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