Tag: Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

Spark a Stand-Out Story

News about our next No, YOU Tell It! show coming soon! Check back for updates. 

First, we’re pleased to announce that our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is partnering with Timothy Lindner of Revisionary Writing and Editing LLC to offer three FREE college essay writing workshops this summer.
Online College Essay Workshop

If your students or kids are looking to get a running start on their personal statements for college applications, these 1.5-hour sessions can help get them going.

Registration for all three sessions (6/26, 7/24, 8/21) is open at stand-out-stories.eventbrite.com

Contact timothy@revisionarywae.com for more information.

Episode 55 – Coming & Going (Part 2)

The first story in our second “Coming and Going” swap places us in a New England suburb during the COVID-19 pandemic. A woman leaves her city life and is thrust into the role of caretaker for her elderly parents where, much like the pandemic, there is no end in sight. Experiencing a role reversal with her stubborn father and carefree mother, our narrator comes face to face with her own fears, testing her faith and patience as she struggles to keep her loved ones safe.

“The Faith of Candy” was written by Nancy Agabian and is read for us here by Charlotte Marchant. Charlotte’s reading was directed by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons.

For this, our first virtual show, we asked each storyteller that if we, the listeners, wished to summon them directly to our room what three items might we place in a magic circle to do so. As you see and will hear, a wide variety of ingredients are needed to complete the spell.

Top: Charlotte Marchant; Bottom: Nancy Agabian

Following the arrests of the riotous Weathermen after the Days of Rage in 1969, our second storyteller finds herself in prison, where reputations precede the inmates and communication is bangs, taps, and whispers through the ventilation system. Finding herself in a platonic relationship with a man named Cookie, the narrator grapples with her identity, the future of the revolution, and women’s roles in both.

Written by Charlotte Marchant and read by Nancy Agabian, our second story is “Cookie.” Nancy’s reading was directed by Amanda Sisk.

No, YOU Tell It! “Coming & Going” was AN OFFICIAL 2020 BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL EVENT and 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.

Episode 54 – Coming & Going (Part 1)

Have you ever wanted to be someone else? The opening story of “Coming & Going”— our second team-up show with Lambda Literary — follows Calvin…or as he’d like to be known, Craig, as he travels to Florida to become someone new. This journey to overcome grief caused by a death, a breakup, and an unforgiving New York City reveals that what we seek might already be inside us, even if we have to imagine our future with a new set of eyes once in a while.

Nicole Shawan Junior reads “Becoming Someone Else in Florida” written by Calvin S. Cato.

Nicole’s reading was directed by Amanda Sisk.

Bonus: For this, our first virtual show, we asked each storyteller that if we, the listeners, wished to summon them directly to our room what three items might we place in a magic circle to do so. As you see and will hear, a wide variety of ingredients are needed to complete the spell.

Top: Calvin S. Cato, Bottom: Nicole Shawan Junior

Switching it up, our next story takes us on a trip to the west coast where two lovers seek comfort in each other’s sanitized arms during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the backdrop of 2020’s chaotic energy, the two women must navigate their coping mechanisms, fears, and ultimately their love for each other in order to confront their futures — together or on their own.

Nicole Shawan Junior’s timely story, “Finding Our Way Back Home,” is read for us here by Calvin S. Cato.

Calvin’s reading was directed by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons.

No, YOU Tell It! “Coming & Going” was AN OFFICIAL 2020 BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL EVENT and 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.

Episode 52 – a Muse (Part 2)

Our first story finds a dyed-in-wool New Yorker facing unforeseen suburban horrors. Negotiating neighborly encounters that make her question whether to recalibrate her moral barometer to keep up with the Joneses. Or, in this case, the Weavers.

Kicking off the second half of our special Brooklyn Book Festival event at The Astoria Bookshop, here is Ellie Dvorkin reading “The Neighbor’s Muse” written by H.E. Fisher.

Top left: Ellie Dvorkin; Top right: Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons and H.E. Fisher; Bottom left: Story partners!; Bottom right: H.E. Fisher

Switching it up, in our next story, a daughter fails to find anything amusing about her lifelong role of caretaker. Her mother’s recent health scare causing her to rethink the responsibilities we take on, the ones put upon us, and what it takes to release yourself from burdens of the past. H.E. Fisher reads “Fun” written by Ellie Dvorkin.

For this 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival event, we partnered with The Astoria Bookshop for a special evening of poets and comedians trading true tales inspired by the theme “aMuse.” Stories performed live on September 17th, 2019.

Storeis were directed by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons who also narrated this episode.

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.

From Page to Stage: Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute Workshop

 

Excited to share that Mike Dressel and Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons are teaching a five-week workshop in collaborative creative nonfiction at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence this fall: ‘

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 until Tuesday, October 23, 2018 from 10-12 PM.

Click here for registration details.  & Help us spread the news!

From Page to Stage: Writing Creative Nonfiction for Performance with Mike Dressel and Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

Nothing informs your story like hearing someone else perform your story!

Compose a creative nonfiction story using the collaborative process created by the producers of the nonfiction reading series, No, YOU Tell It!

Whether developing a true-life tale for a venue like The Moth or RISK! or working to sharpen it for publication, our “page to stage” process allows writers to gain a new perspective on the story they want to tell by hearing their words read out loud by someone else, while also improving their own stage presence.

This five-week session takes you from brainstorming, through drafting, to a finished piece of creative nonfiction.

  • Session one features generative exercises such as “I Remember” and “Sensory Blitz” to brainstorm memorable moments and sharpen sensory details.
  • Sessions two and three feature group exercises with targeted feedback for each writer. We’ll also explore revision strategies to find shape and structure, develop your “I-character,” and raise the stakes.
  • Sessions four and five address pacing in performance, strengthening story beats, and rehearsing basic stage techniques to help embody your partner’s story and give it a little oomph in the final reading.

By the end of this workshop, participants take an idea from a thematic suggestion all the way through to a polished draft, engage in useful feedback and revision techniques, and consider the importance of audience and delivery.

Click here for registration details! 

No, YOU Tell It! is a “switched-up” storytelling series dedicated to performing true-life tales with a twist: Each participant develops their own story on the page and then flip scripts with a partner to present each other’s story on stage. We’ve found that this shared storytelling format creates a sense of trust and ownership, and blends the collaborative process of creative writing workshops with the intimacy and immediacy of theatrical performance.

Mike Dressel is a writer and educator. His work has appeared in publications such as Litbreak, The James Franco ReviewChelsea Station, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn, among others, as well as in the anthologies Best Gay Stories 2016 and Best Gay Stories 2017. He has been a judge for The Prose Bowl, a flash fiction reading series, and a panelist on the comedy news show Fight the Feed.

Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is a writer, teacher, and storyteller. Her recent work has appeared in Hippocampus MagazineMarie ClaireBlack Fox Literary MagazineNewtown Literary, and she is a 2017 Pushcart Prize Nominee. After earning her MFA in creative nonfiction from Fairleigh Dickinson University, she created No, YOU Tell It!, a switched-up storytelling series with a twist: Each NYTI participant develops their own story on the page and then flips scripts with a partner to present each other’s story on stage.

Boundless Tales TONIGHT

Our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is excited to be one of six Queens-based emerging writers – along with Victoria Adler, Jamey Hansen, Jason Ferguson, Katie Flanagan, and Claire Zajdel – reading work at tonight’s Boundless Tales at The Local in LIC.

Click here for more info and to RSVP via Facebook.

Founded in 2011, Boundless Tales: A Series for Emerging Writers gives a platform to the best emerging writers in Queens, NY, the city’s largest and most diverse borough.

Writers! Boundless Tales is now accepting submissions from Queens-based emerging writers for their second reading of the season in February. Click here for  submission guidelines and pass the word along!

 

“Share Our Stories” Event

Earlier this year, our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons was awarded a 2017 SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant through the Queens Council on the Arts to positively impact the well-being of older adults through arts-based activities. Her residency at the CCNS Woodhaven Neighborhood Senior Center culminates this Friday, June 9th, with a “Share Our Stories” showcase at the center.

Starting at 1 pm, this special event features storytelling, story collages, songs (and snacks!) inspired by the true-life tales the fabulous folks at Woodhaven shared with her, and each other, for the past few months. Kelly Jean is thrilled to be co-hosting this story-palooza with her Sip-N-Scribe partner in crime Jenn Wehrung (NYTI “Three Strikes” alum, Laugh It Up, Astoria!).

We’re also stoked to share that NYTI “Legacy” artist Sha-Nee Williams  returned to created an original painting of one of the workshop participant’s beloved cat. This stunning piece, which will be on display at the event, was based solely on Susan’s written description (see below) of her cat, Candy.

Susan’s cat, Candy, as imagined by Sha-Nee Williams

My cat’s name is Candy. She is 12 years old, but she is pretty frisky for her age. Her coloring is very hard to describe, but I would say she is dark gray with some calico in the back. She is a short-haired cat with a long gray tail. Candy is a big fat cat, very roly poly with a white tummy and white feet, but she is orangey around the legs. My God, I don’t even know how much she weighs! Maybe 15 pounds?

We feed her moist food in the morning and dry at night. Candy used to love Temptations but suddenly she doesn’t like them anymore. She is a very docile cat, sleeps all the time. We got her from the North Shore Animal League. We wanted an older cat. She was about eight years old when we took her home and that was four years ago. She has a tiny cry, “meow, meow, meow” with a tiny little mouth. Sometimes she doesn’t even make a noise. She just opens her mouth and a tiny “peep” comes out. I remember she used to have a tiny ball with a bell that she played with a lot, but it got lost.

Candy always sleeps next to me, she is very attached to me. She stares at me with these big beautiful eyes. I tell there that she’s “my pretty little girl” and she blinks her eyes. Blinks them slowly, as if I was putting her asleep.

Ready for more? Join us this Friday, June 9th, at 1 pm at the CCNS Woodhaven Neighborhood Senior Center (89-02 91st St, Jamaica, NY 11421) to hear some stories, see story collages made from the writing generated during the weekly memoir workshops, sing songs, and eat snacks!

 

Partners of the 2017 SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant

Telling Your True-Life Tale Workshop

Sign up for a Six-Week Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop

with No, YOU Tell It! Creator & Producer Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

 March 30 – May 4 from 7-9pm in Manhattan – OR April 3 – May 8 from 2-4pm in Astoria

KJ Fitzsimmons.photo by Gili Getz

 

What is this workshop all about? Working on a memoir? Thinking about a one-person show? Want to get that story that always kills at your local bar down on paper? Or, craft an idea into a publishable personal essay? Perfect!

The emphasis is on generating and revising nonfiction work. Each week, participants will explore new literary techniques, discuss published work, do in-class writing games, and critique each other’s material. At the end of the workshop, there will be a group reading (for those wishing to participate) at a local bookstore, bar, or café.

Who am I? I am an award-winning essayist, and work as a writing instructor in Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College Writing Program and teach creative writing workshops at The Astoria Bookshop. I also produce No, YOU Tell It!, a “switched-up” storytelling series dedicated to performing true-life tales with a twist: Each NYTI participant develops their own story on the page and then flips scripts with a partner to present each other’s story on stage. Click here to read a spotlight interview with me about the series.

Who do I work with? Taking what I’ve learned from producing No, YOU Tell It!, as well as teaching at FDU and The Astoria Bookshop, I designed this workshop for anyone who wants to explore various ways to shape their true-life tale on the page.

I have worked with all kinds of writers — college students, playwrights, screenwriters, short fiction writers, songwriters, poets, monologists, and essayists — and what unites them all is a willingness to experiment and expand how they think about crafting their personal experience into an impactful written piece.

Class size is limited to 6 participants, and there are two sessions to choose from:

  • Session I: Wednesdays, March 30th to May 4th from 7-9pm at an office space in Manhattan, on Lafayette near Astor Place.
  • Session II: Sundays, April 3rd to May 8th from 2-4pm at my apartment in Astoria, near 37th/Broadway. Note: I have a cat, in case you are allergic.

Price: $175 for 6 sessions, plus group reading – date/time TBD.

Email me at kjfitzsimmons@gmail.com with questions or CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.