News from the world of No You Tell It

“Precious” Show Postponed

Sad we had to postpone (new date TBD) today’s scheduled No, YOU Tell It! show because we have loved working with these powerhouse women.

It’s been an honor watching them bond together as a group over the past month while helping each other develop and experience an intensely intimate set of stories.

I’m happy to report that all of our storytellers are healthy, but we want to do our part to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. I’m grateful to Sunnyside Plays​ for their support in this decision and offer to reschedule the show (new date TBD) for when the time is right.

These stories will be told! While we wait, please take the time to listen to some of the amazing story swaps from our live shows on the No, YOU Tell It! podcast.

Want to help out our series in this tenuous time? Click here to donate via our fiscal sponsor The Field. Or share our podcast with a friend! Available on iTunes, AudioBoom, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.

March 12, 2020 Post Comment News Tags: ,

Thank You! We Did It!

No, thank YOU to all who helped us reach and PASS our fundraising goal with $5230 raised in 2019 to compensate our artists, create more opportunities for people to experience each other’s stories, and develop the series.

More news about No, YOU Tell It! 2020 coming SOON. Meanwhile, give a listen to live story swaps on our podcast.

Considering “Why?” This Giving Tuesday

A note from creator/producer Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons this #GivingTuesday. Click here to donate.

In the spirit of Giving Tuesday and considering the question of “Why?” … Why donate to No, YOU Tell It! Why do I, personally, put so much work in? The answer resides in these words of trepidation that I often hear from participants about the value of their personal story:

“Why had I agreed to do this? Who was I to even attempt a prose form? A performance piece? Why did I think I deserved to have any kind of attention?” – poet Pichchenda Bao, NYTI “aMuse”

The NYTI creative team gives each show our all because we believe: YOUR SLICE OF LIFE IS AS VALUABLE AS ANYONE ELSE’S IN THE WORLD!

Everything we do is worth witnessing storytellers speak each other’s words aloud to empower their voices on the page and stage. In 2019, we:

  • Worked with 17 storytellers
  • Curated 3 live shows
  • Plus 1 special student story swap event!
  • Produced 6 new podcast episodes

All to give life and attention to the value of each other’s stories.

As of today, we need 23 people to donate $25 to REACH our 2019 goal of $5000 raised! Can you be one of them?

Click here to make your tax-deductible donation through our fiscal sponsor The Field. 

Great Year of Switched-Up Storytelling!

Proud with a capital “P” of all that we have accomplished in 2019. Give a listen to live story swaps from our “Crafty,” “Snapped!” and “aMuse”  shows on the NYTI podcast. Also, available on iTunes, Apple podcasts, etc.

A ton of work goes into each installment of No, YOU Tell It! From curating a group of storytellers, story meetings to develop drafts on the page, rehearsals sessions to help story partners step into each other’s shoes on stage, all the way through to producing the podcast.

Every moment is worth this testimonial (which totally made us tear up) from Queens poet Pichchenda Bao!

Give a LISTEN to Chenda and Carolyn swap stories as part of our special 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival Event at The Astoria Bookshop in Ep 51.

As we prepare for NYTI 2020, we need your help to keep the switched-up storytelling going!!

CLICK HERE TO DONATE through our sponsored artist page on The Field.

No, YOU Tell It! is a sponsored artist with Performance Zone Inc (dba The Field), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization serving the performing arts community. Contributions to The Field earmarked for No, YOU Tell It! are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Student Story Swap at Legal Outreach

Mike Dressel, Erika Marit Iverson, and Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons, the three-headed dog of NYTI, are headed to Legal Outreach today for a student story swap working with participants in their College Bound program to help strengthen their personal essays for college applications.
This event is made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

The Plan

Tomorrow! New podcast episode featuring a fab flip up from poet H.E. Fisher and comedian Ellie Dvorkin from the second half of our “aMuse” show. Subscribe on iTunes, AudioBoom, or right here!

H.E. Fisher and Ellie Dvorkin

First, read this personal essay from (wow) 2007, which how our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons first met author H.E. Fisher! We are all in on:


I had my annual checkup. Every year, the experience gets increasingly arcane. I’m like an old car: the more miles, the more servicing. I have parts I never knew existed and none of which can be ordered from the manufacturer to be replaced. It becomes a game of maintenance. From a medical perspective, middle age seems to be all about getting into the best shape possible in order to reach the inevitable in one piece. In other words, my job is to stay healthy until I croak.

To achieve this goal, I was told to lose weight, cut my bad cholesterol in half, and lower my blood pressure. The physician handed me a list of foods to stay away from. It included every food that was white, or had salt, sugar, or fat.

Here’s what remained:

  1. Broccoli.
  2. Romaine lettuce.

A few years back I read a fashionable book that was written to help people lower their cholesterol. The author suggested that readers reduce their intake of carrots. Has anyone in the history of cardio infarction ever had the notation in their medical records: CAUSE: CARROTS? Are there people out there blaming their ample midsections on these lovely orange vegetables?

In any case, I did what the doctor said. I don’t eat cheese or red meat anymore. I’ve switched to whole wheat pasta and rice. I try to stay away from carrots. I limit my sweets. I drink decaf with fat-free milk, and green tea. I exercise. And I smile. A lot. Not because I’m so proud of myself for taking care of my body. I am proud. But that’s not what’s behind this ample grin. It’s that I have a plan. A plan that is called Gluttony at 80.

My plan is simple. Stick to a healthy lifestyle – eat well, exercise, meditate, watch Oprah, take my meds. And then, when I turn 80, blow it all to hell.

First up: cheesecake. One from Juniors of Brooklyn, the other from Venieros in the East Village. Next, pastrami on rye with mustard. The real stuff, nothing derived from a turkey. Whatever vein-clogging part of whatever animal it’s made from, that’s what I’m eating. So long as it’s greasy and smoked.

Bread is on the list. Any kind and a lot. With butter.

Anything vegan is out of the question.

Just to make sure I really enjoy myself, I’m going to put myself in the position of having the munchies. Therefore, I will also re-introduce non-prescription drugs into my aged life. I figure I might as well make it a lot of drugs. I haven’t quite worked out how I’m getting them, but my hope is that I will have college-age grandchildren or even greatgrandchild upon whom I can call to hook Granny up with some good shit.

Now, because I want to eat anything when I turn 80, but will simultaneously desire to retain my slender and fabulously toned physique, I will resume smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Maybe two. And this time, I’m going for broke. Marlboros. Nothing with reduced nicotine. I will be the de facto poster child for mid-century cigarette campaigns. The Marlboro Nana. My wrinkled face shall grace billboards and magazines all across the country with the words GRANDMA SAYS, “SMOKE!”

The suburbs aren’t conducive to high-end, top-shelf enjoyable gluttony. They’re too judgmental. This plan does not include lectures or sideways looks. Therefore, I am going to have to move back to Manhattan. A nice doorman building on the East Side so that there will always be someone there to help me carry up the groceries and recreational contraband.

Gluttony at 80 will allow me to take certain liberties. My email will be set to a vacation response saying, “I am out and won’t be returning.” I will advise my accountant to roll my retirement savings into fast food conglomerate investments. I will commission a glassblower to create a lead crystal bong with a platinum bowl. I will host a soiree at a gallery space with a single piece of art: a 65 inch flat panel LCD HDTV featuring a continuous loop of one of those insurance commercials in which a geriatric white couple wearing matching velveteen jogging suits power stroll along a sun-dappled wooded path in a perfectly manicured public park, just to hear my guests comment, “How ironic.” At the end of the evening, I will hand out goody bags filled with food made from processed sugar as well as gift certificates from reliable head shops in New Paltz.

Good health requires hard work and dedication, and alas, relinquishing a certain number of temptations. It seems to me that by 80 we all have earned the right to reclaim at least a few of the things that float our boat. Octogenarians should be able to say, “I’m with the band,” and be handed an all-access-pass to life’s pleasures. Until then, I’ll watch my weight, eat well and exercise, always with a smile on my face.

World Read Aloud Day

Have you heard about #WorldReadAloudDay? Now you have! More answers this Friday, Feb 1st at 7 pm when The Astoria Bookshop hosts a World Read Along Day event, with four local authors including our own Kelly Jean.

Celebrate and curate a love of literacy and storytelling with community members and loved ones (and, if you like, bring a story of your own).

Click here for more info and to RSVP via Facebook.

#Giving Tuesday, Lambda Literary, and Beyond

COMING in 2019! In celebration of NYC hosting WorldPride for the first time and the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, we are teaming up with Lambda Literary in June for a night of queer story swapping. Through No, YOU Tell It!’s unique format of pairing and partnering, this special evening will highlight the multiplicity of the queer experience.

More NYTI 2019 news SOON. But on this #GivingTuesday, YOU can support Lambda Literary, which works tirelessly every day on behalf of #LGBTQ writers and their writing. Hear more from executive director, Sue Landers, below and GIVE today at

In July, I joined Lambda Literary as executive director because I wanted to help amplify LGBTQ voices at a time when the world needs them more than ever. As a teacher recently reminded me, “books make us whole.” That is especially true in the case of LGBTQ youth, who deserve to see positive, complex, and joyful portrayals of LGBTQ life in the books they read at school, which is exactly what Lambda Literary’s LGBTQ Writers in Schools program provides. It’s also true for all the many others who Lambda serves through our programs, including the only writing residency in the world exclusively for up-and-coming queer writers.

YOU can support this necessary, life-affirming work by giving to Lambda Literary this GivingTuesday. It is imperative that Lambda Literary continue to foster and amplify LGBTQ creativity. In our stories are the roadmaps for living, loving, and fighting. Our literature affirms the value of our lives and reflects our expansive humanity. Give now at

– Sue Landers, Executive Director at Lambda Literary

Alum Fun Update: What Doesn’t Kill You

What Doesn’t Kill You: An Anthology of YA Short Fiction features talented No, YOU Tell It! alums including Eliot Schrefer, Tiffany L. Berryman, Hayden Bergman, and Becky Fine-Firesheets among a group of two-dozen distinguished writers from all over the United States and Canada who claim to have survived the harrowing passage of their teenage years—but sometimes just barely! They hope these stories will help you survive too—since they know being a teenager often feels like an impossible task, like it’s trying to kill you for no apparent reason.

The characters in these pages have gone through some stuff—and are still going through some stuff as their stories unfold. (After all, what doesn’t kill you sometimes just keeps trying until the job is done, right?) They’ve been tricked out of money, given up their innocence before realizing what might be lost, and even ended up accidentally traveling through time with the Devil. They’ve thought they’d killed people—and even actually done it. They’ve come out, struggled with eating disorders and OCD, and even had to take on parenting responsibilities all by themselves.

If you’ve ever felt like the world’s out to get you, then this book’s for you. Buy your copy of What Doesn’t Kill You on Indomita Press or by visiting

Alum Fun Update: Raquel I. Penzo’s Péinate

In a time when women’s voices need to be shouted and not silenced, we are proud to recommend:

Péinate: Hair Battles Between Latina Mothers & Daughters includes stories, poems and essays about fights, acceptance, insecurities, and identity, and how it shapes the mother-daughter bond in Latinx households. Little girls longing to be accepted, and considered beautiful, by their moms; and mothers who, guided by fear or stress or not knowing better, who just want the world to accept their daughters. The pieces in this anthology get to heart of the stories most Latinas know too well.

Congratulations to friend and alum Raquel I. Penzo for bringing this fabulous anthology into the world! Click here to get your copy today.

But that’s not all. This weekend you can get a jump on Halloween with this spookalicious Brooklyn Lit Crawl event presented by La Pluma y La Tinta. Saturday, October 6th at 6 pm. Click here for more info and to RSVP.

El Cuco & Other Scary Stories

Orlando Ferrand, Mariana Goycoechea, and Alexis Francisco share tales from their childhood about El Cuco (the boogie man), and what he looked like in Cuba, Guatemala, and Mexico, according to the scary stories their moms told.

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