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Meet the Cast- LTYM-Lehigh Valley 2017- Alyssa Mierta

by kirstenpiccini on April 21, 2017

LTYM LV Alyssa

For most of my life, I didn’t enjoy writing.

I was angry and hurt and scared but I had trouble expressing my feelings. Someone (a therapist, a teacher, my mom…I forget) suggested that I write about whatever was making me upset, and then I’d feel better. So I wrote, but it didn’t make me feel better.

It was always difficult for me to organize my thoughts and get them onto paper. Using a tape recorder with variable speed playback and a computer did help some, but the extra steps and technology added to the burden of each assignment. My papers often came back to me so bloodied with red ink they looked like crime scenes.

As a voracious reader with a mother who wrote prolifically, I became the friend who was always happy to read the writing of others and make helpful suggestions, but didn’t share my own.

In college, I avoided classes that required writing papers whenever possible, and was relieved that most of my Engineering classes focused on generating PowerPoint presentations and brief technical memos. Lab reports were a necessary evil.

As a new teacher, I was taken under the wing of a literacy coach with a career path more circuitous than mine. I admitted to her my tortured experience with writing and expressed my doubts about my ability to teach something I so disliked.  She encouraged me to try using the Writers’ Workshop along with my students. I was surprised by how easy it was to write on any topic in a notebook nobody would see unless I chose to share it.

Now, as a mom, I write about the lessons I’m learning from life. It’s a way to process what is going on. Writing forces me to slow down and really THINK. By sharing my writing, I can help others who are going through something similar. Helping others makes me feel less helpless.

Writing can be empowering.

Besides engineer, teacher, and mom of 2 young children with special needs, I have also been a camp counselor, lifeguard, swim instructor, tour guide, college interviewer, office assistant, cashier, performer, stage manager, technical director, coach, mentor, mud runner, web designer, PR coordinator, lactation counselor, and pre-reader for a bestselling author. Though natives of New Jersey, my husband and I have lived in the Lehigh Valley for nearly half our lives. I dream of continuing to fill my passport with stamps from around the world, but getting to take a shower in peace would be nice too.

Come and hear Alyssa  , along with our other extraordinary storytellers, on Sunday, April 30th at the Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, PA for Listen To Your Mother-Lehigh Valley 2017 benefiting the YWCA of Bethlehem .  Get your tickets HERE! 

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Meet the Cast- LTYM-Lehigh Valley- Dana Schwartz

by kirstenpiccini on April 18, 2017


Dana Schwartz has always been a sucker for a good story. One of her favorites belongs to her parents. Set up on a blind date, her mother decided to visit her prospective beau at the university bookstore where he worked. Later she joked that it was no accident their firstborn turned out to be a “book woman.”

A voracious reader from the start, Dana used to sneak books on her lap during meals until her parents told her she didn’t have to hide her habit. She rarely left the house, or a room, without a book in hand. This has not changed much over the years.

After graduating college with a degree in English Literature, she embarked on a brief career in book publishing and then shifted gears, teaching self-defense classes while working toward her MFA in fiction at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

A chance encounter at a Brooklyn coffee shop led to meeting her future husband. After a whirlwind courtship they married. Writing took a temporary hiatus after the birth of their two children, but she soon returned to the page, realizing that not writing was simply not possible.

Though fiction was her mainstay for decades, Dana recently discovered an affinity for personal essays and has been published in three anthologies and a variety of websites and blogs. Two years ago she had the great pleasure and good fortune to be part of Lehigh Valley’s debut LTYM show, and today she is grateful to be part of this finale cast. Turns out, telling stories in front of an audience is almost as addictive as writing them in the first place.

You can find her musings about motherhood and creativity on her blog, Writing at the Table. Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DanaSchwartzAuthor and Twitter @dhschwartz if you’d like. She’s currently working on a memoir about grief and motherhood.

Come and hear Dana , along with our other extraordinary storytellers, on Sunday, April 30th at the Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, PA for Listen To Your Mother-Lehigh Valley 2017 benefiting the YWCA of Bethlehem .  Get your tickets HERE! 

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Meet the Cast- LTYM- Lehigh Valley- Bridget Schneider

April 7, 2017

I saw a funny cartoon the other day of an angry boy showing his dad the grade he got on a math test. The boy said, “We got a D on the math test!”  I chuckled but it resonated. I’ve experienced similar situations with my daughter and she has directed her anger at me. She attributes an unsatisfactory math test grade to me because the method I showed her for solving the problems confused her got quite a few wrong. Math was never my strong suit. I was one of the unfortunate fourth graders sent for tutoring when fractions and long division came into the picture.  Math isn’t my daughter’s strong suit either. Some of the concepts that flummoxed me back then flummox her now. When we work together on her homework, my patience wears thin. You’d think because I struggled, it would make me more patient with her but it doesn’t. Impatience […]

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Meet the Cast-LTYM- Lehigh Valley – Betsy Woytovich

April 6, 2017

  Recently, I had the opportunity to meet a local author when, on two separate occasions, she came to speak about her book at my book club meeting.  Both times, I cried.  I have dreamed of being a writer since seventh grade when Sister Regina told me I had a gift. I decided to take a writing class from my new author friend, and during class I shared my story. In tenth grade, I told a family friend I wanted to be a poet (Poetry was my first love). She told me “Poet’s starve.” I had quite an appetite and always longed to be self-sufficient so I decided writing poetry was not for me. I majored in English in college and decided to be an editor. When I told my beloved, yet practical, father, he responded, “There is really no such thing as an editor, not the way you are envisioning.” After college, […]

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Meet the Cast- LTYM Lehigh Valley- Erika A. Bruckner

April 5, 2017

I write. I think. I pray. I clean lollipop residue off tiny, sticky hands. I garden. I cook. I read. (with enthusiasm) I clean (generally not with the same enthusiasm).   I eat ice cream. I make lists (LOTS of lists) I sometimes add something to my list after it’s completed, just so I could cross it off. (Don’t judge)   I am inspired by everyday people. I’m passionate. I set high goals. I love ideas, creativity and vision.   I like to be in control. I constantly realize I’m not in control. I am forgiven and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ—which has changed everything. I think sunflowers are more beautiful than diamonds.   -Erika A. Bruckner is a low-drama, a-type personality locavore who loves sunshine, simplicity and learning from creative people. Previously an associate editor for a regional magazine, she is now project manager and writer at Clarks Summit University. […]

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