On July 23, 6 author will gather at Indy Reads Books as part of the first Downtown Writers Jam hosted by The Geeky Press. We’re currently curating those authors, and taking recommendations from friends, colleagues, and other people involved in the Indiana writing scene. Don’t wait to be nominated, though. You can submit your own work for consideration.
We’re kicking off the Jam with a series of short 5-minute stories from young writers. These are writers working on their first professional long-form work. We want to introduce you to our first young writer: Jessica Pettingill.
When Jessica was a kid, reading and writing seemed to be the only things she was ever good at. But as the oldest of three children in a highly rational and athletic household, there always seemed to be something more practical to do to ever take writing seriously. It wasn’t until she left her home state of California to attend Ball State University to study journalism that she realized the profound impact that writing has.
As she began reading authors like Hemingway, Dickens, and Vonnegut, she began to understand that stories are much grander than themselves. That’s what she desires to do with writing. After she graduate in the spring of 2015 she hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. If not, perhaps the Peace Corps or Teach for America. Either way, she will always be writing and attempting to be grander than myself.
At The Downtown Writers Jam
What’s the name of the piece from which your DWJ story comes? “No Safe Harbor,” a long-form essay that is part of The Invictus Writers 2015 book project.
What was the question or idea that sparked that original piece? The piece centers around the idea of not having a home. Throughout my adolescence, I became used to impermanence to a point that it became self-inflicted. I believe the idea of interpersonal, meaningful relationships (platonic or otherwise) and the simultaneous joy and fear of loss that comes with them is something that can be felt by anyone.
What should the audience expect from your storytelling at the Downtown Writers Jam? Anxious effort. This will be the first time I’ve read my work to a crowd. I will give my everything, but even if I’m 100% prepared, I will be anxious in every definition of the word.
Get to Reading
Best book or long-form writing we should read, but probably haven’t? And why? The Exile’s Return: A literary Odyssey of the 1920s by Malcolm Cowley. It’s a biography and autobiography of many of the artists of the “Lost Generation.” The themes of unsettledness influenced my writings for No Safe Harbor. I’ve never before connected so personally with any point in the past.