"Make it real, make it plain, and tell the whole story." Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

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We met our first resident writer Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons on a rainy saturday morning at the iconic Housing Works Bookstore. All of us needed a cup of coffee. Luckily, they have a cafe, and a great one at that– all volunteer run. Located right below busy Houston street in the strangely liminal area between the East Village and Soho, the expansive location transforms used and donated books into one of the more organized and pleasing bookstores in the city. We placed Kelly Jean in the upstairs where there is a vantage of both the street and the bustling bookmongers below. When we realized they couldn’t provide electricity, Kelly Jean improvised beautifully. She is working on a memoir “My Prom was Better Than/Worse Than Yours.” Here are some of her impressions:


"Make it real, make it plain, and tell the whole story."

Congressman John Lewis presented this as the mission statement for March a graphic novel trilogy that brought the civil rights movement and Lewis's own incredible story to life. When I arrived at Housing Works Bookstore and discovered that my writing perch wasn't within reach of an electrical outlet (the horror... the horror...), I found this March journal in the "For Sale" stacks near the register. What a treasure! I loved sharing the graphic novel with my students and waiting for me in this writing space provided by the 360 residency was a journal that invited me to dream, plan, and fight. I've struggled for years to tell the story of my prom both verbally and on the page. I've quit more times than I like to think about, and I have a lot of work ahead to bring the story of that night into the world. But, now, I have a mantra to silence the siren song of insecurity: make it real. make it plain. tell the whole story! 

Read and out more about her work at http://www.kellyjeanfitzsimmons.com/