TrueStory is a nonfiction reading series and open mic in Sacramento, California.

Writing down a true story takes courage. The act of writing down a true, personal story means that we claim that story as part of ourself; we embrace it as part of what makes us who we are. By writing nonfiction we practice being unashamed and risk vulnerability by revealing a piece of ourself.

Reading a true story in front of an audience takes even more courage. It’s one step beyond the writing because we ask an audience to respect and to listen to our story. We give an audience, often a room full of strangers, a chance to connect with us on an intimate level. There is no way to know how our personal story will affect another person. All we can do is risk and share, and TrueStory invites people to do just that.

Telling true stories is hard, important work. It is the most powerful way we create human connection and it’s our job — our duty — to share our story with each other. We must know that our story will do more good when shared than kept. The more of us who can do that, the more honestly we can share our lives with each other. What better way to come to terms with pieces of ourselves than to write about them and then let others, strangers, hear them?

TrueStory is a collaboration of Elaine Gale and Janna Marlies Maron.



Elaine Gale is a writer, journalist, and professor. She was a religion reporter for the Los Angeles Times and an advice columnist and pop culture reporter for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. Currently, she is a Professor of Communication Studies and Journalism at California State University, Sacramento, and the Writing Center Director for Antioch University’s PhD Program in Leadership and Change. She holds a doctorate in Human Communication from University of Denver, an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and a BA in English and Religion from Boston University.




As a self-proclaimed woman in progress, Janna Marlies Maron, writes, edits, publishes and compulsively starts new projects. As a writer she hopes to inspire others to action by telling her personal story, and as a publisher she hopes to provide others the opportunity to do the same. She holds an MA in Creative Writing and teaches composition at Sacramento City College. When she’s not curating stories for Under the Gum Tree, you can find Janna tooling around town with her husband Jeremy on their red Vespa or holding down the fort at ThinkHouse Collective in Midtown Sacramento.