Happy 80th Sir Patrick Stewart!

Art: MRCokeley Design

Happy Birthday, Patrick Stewart! Last fall, I had the honor of writing about how the iconic Jean-Luc Picard is my hero – in any time period.

Click here to read The Strength of Jean-Luc Picard on Humungus.

Follow @SirPatStew on Twitter for #ASonnetADay. His 80th Sonnet came on the eve of his 80th birthday.

Please wear a mask for all the reasons but if for no other reason than to keep Sir Patrick Stewart safe!

Questionable Caretaker

The All-American Aversion to Showing Weakness Does More Harm Than Good

I didn’t imagine that leaving New York to go take care of my parents for the summer would be easy. It never occurred to me, however, that the hardest part would be making the Floridians around us wear masks.

Here, doing the one thing that dramatically reduces COVID-19 transmission is often viewed as acting like a “liberal baby.” This is a rub because the cultural pressure to not show weakness is how my family got in this mess.

Click here to read about Days 1-10 of my caretaking adventures on Medium.

Summer Coaching Special

“Ms. Kelly Jean was a thoughtful and dedicated writing coach. She helped us open up by being honest and open with us.”

Click here to read more testimonials.

The college admissions process is stressful even in the best of times.

Have or know a high school student looking for support as they write their college admissions essays?

Contact me at kjfitzsimmons@gmail.com to learn more about this special summer coaching package for 1, 2, or 3 students.

Working together makes things more social, plus they get to split the fee!

Newtown Literary

Honored to be on editorial review board at Newtown Literary.

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.

Read the full statement on Newtown Literary’s Facebook page.

Workshop Creator Scholarship

Grateful and thrilled to be awarded a scholarship for the May cohort of the Workshop Creator program run by Wavetable!

Transitioning my work online is a need as I struggle to regain my livelihood. However, I want to design engaging and openhearted virtual workshops that help high school students tell their stories for college application essays in an authentic voice.

Personal storytelling is essential right now as a way for students to connect by sharing in each other’s experiences.

Click here to learn more about Wavetable and how to join us in May.

Private Coaching Testimonials

As 2019 comes to a close, I am honored to have helped hundreds of students find and shape their personal stories this year.

I was touched by these testimonials I received from a mother and son who I worked with on his personal statement for a magnet high school application.

Kelly Jean coaxed out the best in my son’s writing. Through a very focused series of activities and clear questions, she taught him to tell his story in a vivid and engaging way. Although we hired Kelly Jean to help with one particular essay, the tools she gave my son will serve him forever.

Kelly Jean was a pleasure to work with, she is a great teacher. Kelly Jean taught me to be a better storyteller by showing me how to put the reader in the moment using sensory details. I was working on an application essay, so she taught me how to not say what the admissions office had heard a million times, and get them to imagine the situation from my point of view. Kelly Jean showed me how to do these things by having me read passages from other students finished essays, which I found very helpful. I learned how to show what I wanted to convey in a more interesting and immersive way. I also learned to edit my essays in a better way, cutting away unnecessary sentences rather than important details. All in all, I learned a lot from Kelly Jean.

360 One Turn Residency

Yesterday, I was one of two writers to kick off Holes in the Wall Collective‘s new 360 writing residency. Six hours, 360 minutes, in a space chosen for you and your project.

“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!

Yesterday, I clicked 360 minutes closer toward the completion of my memoir. Having struggled to “tell the whole story” for years, I’ve also found a new writing mantra for when the task at hand feels too daunting.

Make it real. Make it plain. Tell the whole story!