Nikita Nelin

Nikita Nelin

is creating Big Little Stories

11

patrons

$93

per month
I am Nikita Nelin. I see strange creatures all the time. They're everywhere I look, big and small, and they are what connects everything we name. They are stories. I'm a storyteller. A storyteller's job is to invite the performance of these creatures through some tangible abstraction or other. Thus, art. My tangible abstraction is language. I've had some success in my time with my tangible abstraction. I received the Sean O'Faolian prize for fiction, the Summer Literary Seminars prize for nonfiction, and was a finalist for the Restless Books Immigrant prize, and others. None of these prizes directly addressed the creatures but would not exist without them. I've published stories, essays, journalism, and poetry. What else am I that will make you take notice? Here are some of 'my' creatures. I am a former "at-risk" youth who has done work through Yale Press and Columbia University; an immigrant who has won awards in a second language; a high-school dropout who has taught college. I read tarot, am trained in statistical analysis (though I never use it), and often I listen to Leonard Cohen as I write. I love New York but live in Seattle. I have joined the "circus" twice, the first time caravanning across Europe as a refugee with my mother, and the second time ending up in the middle of the Nevada desert and building huge art. There is no separation between my writing and my life -- both are products of bewilderment and awe, both are made real by those creatures. 

Some of them can be found here. But I want to show you more of these creatures. Help me share them with you. 

Current Projects:

1) The Retinue (Novel)
"The Retinue is a contemporary reframing of Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita. Staged between November 7th, 2016, and January 21st, 2017, and structured as a road-trip narrative where Woland (the devil) and his retinue of ‘others’ tour America in James Carville's stolen winnebago, it is a near realtime reflection on the complexes and projections animating modern American society. Margarita is re-envisioned as the Master, and one of Woland’s assassins — an orphan from a war ravaged Eastern European nation — as her twin flame. The plot takes us from New Orleans, to El Paso, to Las Vegas, to the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, and the Pacific Northwest. The journey considers America’s politics, cultural mythos, and mysticism. Less singularly satire than the original, The Retinue seeks to confront America’s addiction to shaming and polarized mindset while still adhering to the governing principle of the original — to depict a world on the cusp between the magic and the mundane. The primary story is informed by Margarita’s dreams, revealing the true nature of the Persian poet Rumi's relationship with the visitor Shams." 

2) The Fifth Season (Immigrant Memoir)
"The Fifth Season follows Nikita and his mother Natasha’s flight from the crumbling Soviet Union in November of 1989, three days before the Berlin Wall collapses, as they trek across Europe carrying everything they own: four suitcases, a broken samovar, the nebulous idea of a better life, fragmented memories of everyone they left, and the all encompassing desire for an adventure. They are part of the last great wave of the Soviet Jewry migration and they are thrown into a world of awe, criminality, foreignness, anti-Semitism, and the wretched paranoia of their fellow refugees. They traverse what their Jewish community titles 'the passage of guilt,' through the mountains of Austria and into Italy. Once arriving to Rome— designated as the central sorting station for the formerly Soviet refugees — they are told to wait indefinitely until their asylum status is confirmed. Nikita and Natasha find themselves on a never-ending search for boarding rooms, work, food, tree branches for a wood burning stove, and community. They begin to seek their own private lives. Lulled by the Europe of her dreams, Natasha enters a romance with an Italian man, which threatens her son’s obsession with going 'to the end of the line'— to America. Nikita is drawn to the lurid offerings of refugee life: Russian bazaars, squeegee-punk and late night scavenging enterprises, hooliganism, and the nihilistic attitudes of the men with the 'eat-prey eyes.' Nikita’s and Natasha’s understanding of their history is soon challenged by the true nature of their reasons for fleeing, and their dreams for the future begin to conflict, ultimately testing the most precious possession they carry: their love for each other." 

3) Cover Letters (Interviews)
Currently 44 million americans are facing student debt, which amounts to 1.5 trillion dollars. Many of these borrowers will never crawl out from under this number. But we already know this. For many this is a deep personal burden, one theoretically 'shared' but rarely talked about with others. I am interested in the cost of this debt, primarily these questions; what choices are people making because of their debt? What dreams do they not pursue? What do we compromise as individuals and as a society? And, how are we contributing to the design of a false work agreement? The issue of student debt signals to a breach of the social contract.
For years I have been writing cover letters for myself and others. I first interview the subject, inquiring of their professional goals and sometimes their personal goals and the hopes that had initially launched them in the professional track. Often, by this point, the personal dreams have already been significantly compromised. This became a creative project when I began creating alternatives to the accepted cover letter form, one that acknowledges the real motivation behind the cover letter. The structure is simple; the professional voice devolves into the personal, thus signaling its awareness of a broken social contract. Cover Letters, revealing the human behind the cover.


In addition, I write poetry and voice driven vignettes.
 


Tiers
Onlookers Gift
$1 or more per month
Immediate notification of all new publishing developments.
Poet Seekers
$5 or more per month
Each month you receive an original poem.
Lyrical Short Lovers
$10 or more per month
Each month you receive an original lyrical vignette, in addition to poem.
Short Story Gobblers
$25 or more per month
Each month you receive an original short story, in addition to lyrical vignette and poem.
Poets II
$50 or more per month
Your own, unique poem, made from your own personally submitted salient details, in addition to general poem, lyrical vignette, and short story.
Your Memoir Beginning.
$100 or more per month
A consultation on writing your own memoir, in addition to all the other incentives.
Goals
11 of 100 patrons
At 100 patrons I will release a chapter of The Retinue to the public.
1 of 1
I am Nikita Nelin. I see strange creatures all the time. They're everywhere I look, big and small, and they are what connects everything we name. They are stories. I'm a storyteller. A storyteller's job is to invite the performance of these creatures through some tangible abstraction or other. Thus, art. My tangible abstraction is language. I've had some success in my time with my tangible abstraction. I received the Sean O'Faolian prize for fiction, the Summer Literary Seminars prize for nonfiction, and was a finalist for the Restless Books Immigrant prize, and others. None of these prizes directly addressed the creatures but would not exist without them. I've published stories, essays, journalism, and poetry. What else am I that will make you take notice? Here are some of 'my' creatures. I am a former "at-risk" youth who has done work through Yale Press and Columbia University; an immigrant who has won awards in a second language; a high-school dropout who has taught college. I read tarot, am trained in statistical analysis (though I never use it), and often I listen to Leonard Cohen as I write. I love New York but live in Seattle. I have joined the "circus" twice, the first time caravanning across Europe as a refugee with my mother, and the second time ending up in the middle of the Nevada desert and building huge art. There is no separation between my writing and my life -- both are products of bewilderment and awe, both are made real by those creatures. 

Some of them can be found here. But I want to show you more of these creatures. Help me share them with you. 

Current Projects:

1) The Retinue (Novel)
"The Retinue is a contemporary reframing of Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita. Staged between November 7th, 2016, and January 21st, 2017, and structured as a road-trip narrative where Woland (the devil) and his retinue of ‘others’ tour America in James Carville's stolen winnebago, it is a near realtime reflection on the complexes and projections animating modern American society. Margarita is re-envisioned as the Master, and one of Woland’s assassins — an orphan from a war ravaged Eastern European nation — as her twin flame. The plot takes us from New Orleans, to El Paso, to Las Vegas, to the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, and the Pacific Northwest. The journey considers America’s politics, cultural mythos, and mysticism. Less singularly satire than the original, The Retinue seeks to confront America’s addiction to shaming and polarized mindset while still adhering to the governing principle of the original — to depict a world on the cusp between the magic and the mundane. The primary story is informed by Margarita’s dreams, revealing the true nature of the Persian poet Rumi's relationship with the visitor Shams." 

2) The Fifth Season (Immigrant Memoir)
"The Fifth Season follows Nikita and his mother Natasha’s flight from the crumbling Soviet Union in November of 1989, three days before the Berlin Wall collapses, as they trek across Europe carrying everything they own: four suitcases, a broken samovar, the nebulous idea of a better life, fragmented memories of everyone they left, and the all encompassing desire for an adventure. They are part of the last great wave of the Soviet Jewry migration and they are thrown into a world of awe, criminality, foreignness, anti-Semitism, and the wretched paranoia of their fellow refugees. They traverse what their Jewish community titles 'the passage of guilt,' through the mountains of Austria and into Italy. Once arriving to Rome— designated as the central sorting station for the formerly Soviet refugees — they are told to wait indefinitely until their asylum status is confirmed. Nikita and Natasha find themselves on a never-ending search for boarding rooms, work, food, tree branches for a wood burning stove, and community. They begin to seek their own private lives. Lulled by the Europe of her dreams, Natasha enters a romance with an Italian man, which threatens her son’s obsession with going 'to the end of the line'— to America. Nikita is drawn to the lurid offerings of refugee life: Russian bazaars, squeegee-punk and late night scavenging enterprises, hooliganism, and the nihilistic attitudes of the men with the 'eat-prey eyes.' Nikita’s and Natasha’s understanding of their history is soon challenged by the true nature of their reasons for fleeing, and their dreams for the future begin to conflict, ultimately testing the most precious possession they carry: their love for each other." 

3) Cover Letters (Interviews)
Currently 44 million americans are facing student debt, which amounts to 1.5 trillion dollars. Many of these borrowers will never crawl out from under this number. But we already know this. For many this is a deep personal burden, one theoretically 'shared' but rarely talked about with others. I am interested in the cost of this debt, primarily these questions; what choices are people making because of their debt? What dreams do they not pursue? What do we compromise as individuals and as a society? And, how are we contributing to the design of a false work agreement? The issue of student debt signals to a breach of the social contract.
For years I have been writing cover letters for myself and others. I first interview the subject, inquiring of their professional goals and sometimes their personal goals and the hopes that had initially launched them in the professional track. Often, by this point, the personal dreams have already been significantly compromised. This became a creative project when I began creating alternatives to the accepted cover letter form, one that acknowledges the real motivation behind the cover letter. The structure is simple; the professional voice devolves into the personal, thus signaling its awareness of a broken social contract. Cover Letters, revealing the human behind the cover.


In addition, I write poetry and voice driven vignettes.
 


Recent posts by Nikita Nelin

Tiers
Onlookers Gift
$1 or more per month
Immediate notification of all new publishing developments.
Poet Seekers
$5 or more per month
Each month you receive an original poem.
Lyrical Short Lovers
$10 or more per month
Each month you receive an original lyrical vignette, in addition to poem.
Short Story Gobblers
$25 or more per month
Each month you receive an original short story, in addition to lyrical vignette and poem.
Poets II
$50 or more per month
Your own, unique poem, made from your own personally submitted salient details, in addition to general poem, lyrical vignette, and short story.
Your Memoir Beginning.
$100 or more per month
A consultation on writing your own memoir, in addition to all the other incentives.