One of our favourite writing exercises is to use Joe Brainard’s epic poem, “I Remember,” as a structural tool to collect memories, secrets, stories, and warm up our writing muscles. Here are “I Remember” excerpts from some participants of Birds of a Feather: Stories of Home & Migrations, a writing workshop in collaboration w/ Queens Memory Project, July 29, 2016:

 

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© KathaSatha


I remember when I arrived [in] this country and everything called my attention.
I remember when I went to Time Square to look at tourists watching me.
I remember when my sister talked to me about life and what we could do with ours.
I remember my grandmother making orange juice and scolding her grandchildren for riding bikes for miles when she had breakfast prepared for us.
I remember making a mud cake in a place house in the lilac bushes.
I remember sneaking upstairs in my grandparents’ farmhouse and putting on wooden Dutch clogs– how they swallowed my tiny feet.
I remember finding the Dutch clogs years later, after my grandmother came home from the Haitian mission, and expecting them to swallow my feet. To my amazement they didn’t fit.
I remember tearing the pages out of my journal that weren’t happy enough.
I remember going to Girl Scouts and not joining because I was afraid to speak.
I remember moving to Brooklyn and my dad asking me why the bridge was packed. It was Pride Weekend. I didn’t want to try and explain.
I remember making friends with a fuzzy black cat who hung around the church next door.
I remember sitting alone in my room, using my cabinet as a computer desk, and my blow-up mattress all lumpy.
I remember the trick step on the 3rd floor and the Barbie pink walls.
I remember the day my family left me behind.
I remember strangers look at me with sympathetic stares.
I remember the day when I looked at my mom as though she was a stranger.
I remember the nice guy sitting next to me on the plane who offered me his grapefruit juice.
I remember walking on the ledge watching Harlem spread out in front of me.
I remember my father telling me, “This will be your last shoulder ride kid,” too many times.
I remember the story of the war was the same as what I had read the day before and the day before that. It wasn’t going to get any better until it ended. The end of the war would signify another, different problem. But his daughter is here and he loves her as much as he could love anyone.
I remember my hot, NYC outings: sizzling, scorching, steaming mid-day sojourns with my Irish mother to the East River paradise awaiting just the two of us.

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What do YOU remember? We hope you take some time to write your own “I Remember” poem.

Gladys Weaver (nee Simpkins) poses with her son, Lester, at the construction site of their future home. Gladys married John Weaver in 1947 and gave birth to their son, Lester, in 1951. The couple moved into the completed Merrick Park Garden co-op immediately after it was built. Gladys Weaver [1951], Queens Memory Collection, Queens Library.

Birds of a Feather: Stories of Home & Migrations
Queens Library-Jackson Heights
July 29, 2016 / 3-5PM

When you think of home, where do you arrive? Do you have untold stories hidden in your photo albums? Do you have stories that your family tells over and over again? What are the stories that only you can tell? You haven’t found them yet?

Perfect!

Join KathaSatha and Queens Memory Project for a storytelling workshop* where you will write and share personal stories that may explore ideas of home and migrations. Participants are encouraged to bring 2-3 personal and family photos that may help in telling their stories. Facilitator, Muna Gurung, will lead the workshop with a series of writing exercises that involve images and words. No participant will be turned away for not possessing photos. No prior writing experience required.

 

* The session will be led in English. At the consent of the writer, stories from the workshop will be published on Queens Memory Project and KathaSatha web platforms. Registration is required. To register, you may do so on your own, see a librarian, or contact Yingwen Huang at 718-990-8532 / yingwen.huang@queenslibrary.org. 

WHAT’S YOUR NEW YORK STORY?

KathaSatha was in Woodside, Queens, on June 4, 2016 for the Weekend Walks festival organized by Woodside On The Move, Inc. It was the first time we collected sticky-note stories from New York *ON* the streets of New York.

We got 42 new stories! Our youngest storyteller? A 6-year-old writer.

Watch our Facebook space for these micro-stories.

3rd PrizIMG_2098 - Version 2e (Rs. 1000 + Publication):
Saturday Afternoon, Elen Turner

2nd Prize (Rs. 2000 + Publication):
Tea At Mangalbazar, Yukta Bajracharya

1st Prize (Rs. 3000 + Publication):
Souls and Stones, Sneha Shakya

Honourable Mentions: 
Ashok Hall, Saayad Ashok
Elegy, Samyak Shertok

CONGRATULATIONS to all our “Walk With Me: Patan Edition” winners!

A few words from Prajwal Parajuly:

“This was exciting. I was looking forward to reading the entries. Some pieces, however, needed time. When a prompt demands that your entry be 500 words, it’s okay for it to be 550. It’s maybe even okay for the piece to be 600 words. I wasn’t prepared for some of the pieces to be double the required length. That, unfortunately, disqualified a couple of entries. But I am happy about the list we have come up with and look forward to reading more Nepali writers!”

***Thank you for your submissions! It is because of your submissions that we can have more competitions in the future. Bigger and better ones! If your piece has been selected for publication, we will reach out to you shortly. Keep your eyes peeled for the next Walk With Me!***

Our judge, Prajwal Parajuly, has sent a shortlist of titles and names for the competition. CONGRATULATIONS!

(In alphabetical order by first names):

THE GIFT OF MEMORY, Byanjana Thapa
SATURDAY AFTERNOON, Elen Turner
ELEGY, Samyak Shetok
UNTITLED, Sarju Shrestha
ASHOK HALL, Sayaad Ashok
SOULS AND STONES, Sneha Shakya
TEA AT MANGALBAZAAR, Yukta Bajracharya

We will finalise the winners in the next couple of days. So stay tuned!

KATHASATHA announces its first writing competition, WALK WITH ME.

We are soliciting *non-fictional/ personal stories* specifically from PATAN area for our initiative GalliSalli that maps Kathmandu with personal stories. These can be narratives of events that took place in Patan; or memorable characters who still roam its streets; or myths & folk tales that ring through its courtyards; or unforgettable songs that live in the clinking of bangles, tea cups, and metal, all in all, a story only YOU can tell.

© Uttam Bahadur Shrestha/Nepal Picture Library

© Uttam Bahadur Shrestha/Nepal Picture Library

WHAT:
Your personal stories from *PATAN* area. Stories can be prose or poetry. Stories can be told with images, audio and/or video.

Can be in Nepali and/or English.

(Note: If written, stories should NOT be longer than 500 WORDS. For audio and video pieces, stories should not exceed the 2 MINUTE mark.)

WHO:
You! Everyone! Spread the word!

WHEN:
Competition will end on OCTOBER 15, 2015.

WHERE:
Send all stories in all formats to kathasatha@gmail.com.

WINNERS:
We are thrilled that the Prajwal Parajuly, the acclaimed author of The Gurkha’s Daughter  and Land Where I Flee, will be judging this competition. So, here’s your chance to take him on a walk through Patan with you.

The winning piece will use necessary elements of storytelling to bring a narrative to life and making it memorable.

1st Prize: Rs 3000
2nd Prize: Rs 2000
3rd Prize: Rs.1000

PRAJWAL PARAJULY is the son of an Indian father and a Nepalese mother. The Gurkha’s Daughter, his debut collection of short stories, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize in the UK and longlisted for The Story Prize in the US. Land Where I Flee, his first novel, was to international acclaim in 2015. Parajuly’s writings have appeared in The New York Times, Guardian, The New Statesman and on the BBC. He lives between London and New York. He is currently the Clayton B. Ofstad Endowed Distinguished writer-in-residence at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.

KathaSatha is excited to collaborate with Photo Kathmandu for GalliSalli: Patan Edition. The workshop will focus on collecting, creating and presenting stories (in mixed media) from both intimate and public spaces in Patan.

Writers will:

– Be led through a structured set of writing prompts + exercises to explore Patan and arrive at a creative site-specific piece of their own
– Encouraged to explore working with audio, visual, and other forms of media
– Strengthen their interviewing skills by exploring various styles + methods
– Understand their role as a collector of non-fictional personal narratives and learn how to present them in different ways
– Practice creating engaging + memorable nuggets of stories that are interesting to a wide range of audiences
– Learn how to edit stories + use high-end digital audio recorders

Workshop will be conducted in both Nepali and English. Writers may choose to write in Nepali and/or English.

Stories from the workshop will be considered for inclusion by the curatorial team of Photo Kathmandu, Nepal’s first international photography festival.

© Juju Bhai Dhakhwa Collection/Nepal Picture Library

© Juju Bhai Dhakhwa Collection/Nepal Picture Library


WHEN: July 20- 24, 2-6 PM
WHAT: Collecting + Interviewing+ Writing + Creating
WHO: YOU (Workshop will cap at 10 participants)
HOW MUCH: Rs. 1000 (*Partial scholarships available. Please fill out scholarship form.*)
WHERE: TBD

APPLICATION DEADLINE: July 15, 2015

APPLICATION FORM

FACILITATORS:

Prawin Adhikari writes and translates fiction, creative non-fiction, and writes screenplays for the mainstream Nepali film industry. He is a graduate of Whitman College, Walla Walla. Prawin is the author of VANISHING ACT, a collection of short stories that was short listed for the Shakti Bhatt prize. He is also the assistant editor at La.lit, a literary magazine.

Muna Gurung is a writer and educator who spends her time between New York City and Kathmandu. She received her MFA from Columbia University, where she was a teaching fellow. Muna founded KathaSatha, an effort that fosters a public writing and storytelling culture.

Shuvechchhya Pradhan likes to call herself a dreamer and a wanderer at heart. She loves to write, travel, tell stories, and confuse people.

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गल्लिसल्लि: पाटन संस्करणको आयोजनाका निम्ति फोटो काठमाडौँसँग सहकार्य गर्न पाउँदा कथासथा अत्यन्तै उत्साहित छ । यो कार्यशाला पाटनका सार्वजनिक तथा वैयक्तिक स्थानहरूबाट विविध माध्यममा कथाहरू संकलन, सिर्जना र प्रस्तुत गर्नमा केन्द्रित हुनेछ ।

यस कार्यशालामा लेखकहरू निम्न गतिविधिमा सहभागी हुनेछन्ः

– लेखनकालागि विशेष संरचनात्मक उत्प्रेरणा तथा अभ्यासका माध्यमबाट पाटनसँग परिचित हुँदै त्यहाँको कुनै स्थान विशेषबारे सिर्जनशील कृति लेख्नेछन् ।
– श्रव्य, दृश्य तथा अन्य माध्यममा सिर्जना गर्न हौसला पाउनेछन् ।
– विभिन्न शैली तथा विधिको प्रयोगमार्फत अन्तर्वार्ता गर्ने कौशललाई निखार्नेछन् ।
– गैर–आख्यानमूलक वैयक्तिक कथाहरुको संकलकको रूपमा आफ्नो भूमिकालाई मनन गर्दै त्यस्ता कथालाई विभिन्न तवरमा कसरि प्रस्तुत गर्न सकिन्छ, त्यो सिक्नेछन् ।
– फराकिलो श्रोतादिर्घा र पाठकहरूकालागि चाखलाग्दो र स्मरणीय हुने कथाहरु सिर्जना गर्ने अभ्यास गर्नेछन् ।
– उच्च कार्यक्षमता भएका डिजिटल अडियो रेकर्डरको प्रयोग गर्न तथा कथा–सम्पादन गर्न सिक्नेछन् ।

कार्यशाला नेपाली र अँग्रेजी दुवै भाषामा संचालन गरिने छ । सहभागी लेखकले नेपाली वा अँग्रेजी कुनै पनि भाषामा लेख्न सक्नेछन् ।

कार्यशालाबाट आएका कथाहरुलाई नेपालको प्रथम अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय फोटोग्राफी महोत्सव फोटो काठमाडौँको प्रबन्धक समुहले उक्त फोटो महोत्सवमा प्रदर्शनीकालागि छनौट गर्ने सम्भावना छ ।

कहिलेः श्रावण ४ देखि ८ सम्म, दिउँसो २ देखि ६ बजे

केः संकलन + अन्तर्वार्ता + लेखन + सिर्जना

कोः तपाईं (अधिकतम १० सहभागी)

कतिः रू १,०००/– (आंशिक छात्रवृतिको सम्भावना)

सहभागिताकोलागी आवेदन आइसक्नु पर्ने मिति: असर ३०, २०७२
आवेदन फर्मः http://goo.gl/forms/1HfQiKnL67

हल्का नास्ता उपलब्ध हुने अवस्था

सम्पूर्ण जिज्ञासा र प्रश्नः kathasatha@gmail.com

कार्यशाला संचालकहरुः

प्रवीण अधिकारी आख्यान र आलेख लेख्छन्, अनुवाद पनि गर्छन्, र चलचित्रका पटकथा पनि लेख्छन् । उनको कथा संग्रह द भ्यानिशिंग एक्ट मार्च २०१४ मा प्रकाशित भएको थियो । उनि ललित साहित्यिक पत्रिकाका सहसम्पादक मध्ये एक हुन् ।

काठमाडौँ र न्यू योर्ककाबीच आफ्नो समय विभाजन गर्ने मुना गुरुङ लेखक तथा शिक्षक हुन् । कोलुम्बिया यूनिवर्सिटीबाट एमएफए गरेकी गुरुङ कोलुम्बिया यूनिवर्सिटीमा टिचिंग फेलो पनि थिईन् । मुना गुरुङले स्थापना गरेको सँस्था कथासथाले सामाजिक र सार्वजनिक लेखन र कथासिर्जना र वाचनलाई प्रोत्साहन दिन्छ ।

शुभेच्छा प्रधान आफूलाई एक स्वप्नद्रष्टा र मनै देखि बरालिन मनपराउने व्यक्ति भनेर चिनाउँछिन् । उनलाई लेख्न, यात्रा गर्न, कथा सुनाउन र अरूलाई दिग्भ्रमित पार्नमा विशेष रूची छ ।

You may know where and how each galli in Kathmandu begins, merges and disappears, but have you stopped to feel the pulse of countless stories it has witnessed? What has the galli seen? What has it heard? What has it felt?

Photo by: Shashank Shrestha

Photo by: Shashank Shrestha

Come join Katha Satha’s exciting public writing project GalliSalli and be a part of this 2-DAY writing workshop this spring!

Writers will be led through a structured, inspiring and meditative set of writing prompts to arrive at a creative site-specific piece of their own that is expressed in the format of their choosing. The workshop is scaffolded to focus on the process and craft of writing.

Writing can be in English and Nepali, although the majority of the instructions will be in English.

WHEN: March 20-21, 2015, 11AM-1PM
WHAT: Writing! Reading! Being!
WHO: You. Caps at 12 writers.
HOW MUCH: Rs. 400 (*Limited number of scholarships are available. Please email kathasatha@gmail.com for inquiries.*)
WHERE: photo.circle, Jhamsikhel

APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 18, 2015.
Apply now by filling out the Workshop Application Form.
Limited number of scholarships are available. Interested writers are asked to also fill out the Scholarship Application Form.

Facilitators:

MUNA GURUNG is a writer and educator based in New York city. She received her MFA from Columbia University, where she was a teaching fellow.

SHITU RAJBHANDARI is trying to write herself home despite the realization that there is no longer such place as home. She stands on a bridge that connects two worlds and is relearning her own culture through analyzing other cultures that she comes across. She is a Fulbright Scholar who received her MFA from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado in 2014.

pc map location

photo.circle: Location of workshop

Every Dashain, Kathmandu empties out. The skies open up to a brief blue as it breathes–no longer choked by dust and smoke. You can hear each metallic shutter of every shop grate down to loud bang at a padlock: closed for the holidays. When you walk down a street, you realise that you can actually be heard moving about this city. Your steps hold a rhythm against the squeals of boys and girls flying kites, killing kites, finding kites, learning the ropes. Suddenly, it feels natural to smile to strangers and they smile back at you.

Or so they say.

Although I visit home every year, I haven’t been back for Dashain for 11 years. This will be my 12th. I have forgotten what the air feels like, what the city sounds like– all I can do is work from memory, which now plays itself in a cliched-repetitive manner. I borrow words from others. I ask my mother to hold the receiver outside our window. None of it works.

But last weekend, I had the pleasure of sitting down in front of my computer in my small New York apartment and collecting stories from friends who are expert storytellers and writers. I had the pleasure of reading their words, moulding them, sitting in them, sleeping in them, eating in them.

That weekend, I didn’t get out of my pajamas.

That weekend, I travelled back home to Kathmandu for 48 hours.

I started from Kupondole, went to Jawalakhel, then straight across to Chakrapath, then I took a mini-pilgrimage to Pashupati, cycled to Baneshwar, then to Thamel, hopped on a rickshaw to Basantapur and ended up back in Ason. The marrow of this town.

GalliSallih would not have come to life had it not been for the writers and storytellers who believed in it enough to share parts of them. Make their most forgotten, hidden or sacred memories so public.

Here’s to the writers. Here’s to the stories. Here’s to Kathmandu.
Nepali Times: Dashain Special

Thank you for your contribution. Keep them coming via email (kathasatha@gmail.com) or via Galli Salliharuma. Scroll down for Submission Guidelines.

Yours.