News from the world of No You Tell It

Snail Mail Story Swaps

Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company. – Lord Byron

What’s your story been in the last three months since we had to postpone our March 12th “Precious” show?

How would you like to trade tales with a member of the No, YOU Tell It! community snail mail style? Email us at to be paired with a pen-pal.

We will match you up. Then take it from there to trade tales, report on how you can keep the momentum going to create positive social change, and whatever else may evolve.

We’ve thought a lot about what No, YOU Tell It! should or could say in response to the recent horrific events and the long history of racial injustice that led to them.

Our own Kelly Jean recently taught an online workshop centered around Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, which explores racial aggressions in everyday encounters and the media. These words Rankine shared as part of 826NYC’s quarenTEEN voices resonated with us:

This is how you talk or write about difficult things: you do it assuming that you don’t know. Over and over you hear that you have to write about what you know. The way to approach difficult things is to approach them as difficult things. You approach them with questions rather than positions. The making of art is not about showing how smart you are or proving anything, but really just exploring the subject so you can understand it better.

No, YOU Tell It! is all about creating stronger empathetic connections by trading stories and sharing life experiences to better understand each other. Help keep the story swapping going by signing up to be paired with a pen-pal.

EMAIL to sign up and/or with any questions.

In support of Newtown Literary and Queens Voices

We’ve had the honor of working many members of the Newtown Literary community over the years and wanted to share their words today in support of their mission to emphasize the creative writing of those who are marginalized and silenced.

The stories of Queens are the stories of this country and our world.

We here at Newtown Literary stand against racism and injustice of any kind. We honor George Floyd and countless others who have paid the price of white supremacy with their lives, many in New York City. We acknowledge the life-and-death nature of this situation. #BlackLivesMatter is a universal truth. Black people have the same rights as everyone else, and we condemn the abhorrent act of disregarding anyone’s right to life and liberty based on the color of their skin. The rights to learn, create, and succeed in the literary community fall under this banner.

In this time when the feeling of powerlessness is pervasive, the staff of Newtown Literary has been spending the last several days reflecting on how we can affect actual change, not just make lukewarm statements of support on social media that disappear when the headlines change. We believe that stories and poetry can be a form of action.

Read the full statement here and reach out through the Contact page on their website.

June 3, 2020 Post Comment News Tags:

Eight-Year Anniversary Celebration on DP TV!

Today, May 8th marks eight years of No, YOU Tell It!  Celebrate with this special look at last year’s Lambda Literary team-up show by filmmaker and alum storyteller Ariel Mahler. Then join the party on our NYTI FB page.

Comment on and/or share this featurette by 11:59 pm (Cinderella time!) for a chance to win a $100 Bookseller’s Choice Book Bundle from The Astoria Bookshop.

Our virtual May 8th anniversary celebration is being featured on DP TV. Spread the word! Like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Instagram and invite friends to do the same. If we receive 80 new followers on May 8th, we’ll donate $100 to Dixon Place. 

DP TV programs are free to watch, and your kind donations offset the loss of ticket and beverage sales that keep the visionary fires burning! Support DP

Shout Out to Queens Storytellers

We are so appreciative of the support we’ve received from the Queens Council on the Arts over the years.

Here are some updates from No, YOU Tell It! alum storytellers living in the epicenter of Queens.

It’s hard to believe but our eight-year anniversary is coming up on May 8th.

Our planned “Coming & Going” show is on hold for now, but we do have some social-distanced surprises in store.

LIKE our Facebook page and FOLLOW us on Instagram for updates on how to celebrate and perhaps win a Bookseller’s Choice Bundle from The Astoria Bookshop.

Strength To Our Storytellers

Sending strength to our community of storytellers who are struggling with new and continued losses in this time of crisis. Here are just a few of the faces we’ve had the honor of working with over the years.

Listen to live story swaps from our shows on the No, YOU Tell It! podcast. (Also available on iTunes, AudioBoom, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.)

Big hugs (virtual for now) and love to you all – today, tomorrow, and always.

April 8, 2020 Post Comment News

“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.
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