Just Plain Cynful

By Cyn Vargas

By the time you read this I will have taught one ninety-minute creative writing course to twelve Chicago Public School freshmen who are interested in writing and have never taken a creative writing class.

I have known this class was coming for a couple of months. I was pumped when asked and was looking forward to it because it's a new challenge for me. I have taught twenty-three fourth graders writing for a semester (one kid drew me a picture of himself with six abs holding a gun) and I teach adults in my other classes. But high schoolers? Well now, that's a whole other story.

Then for whatever reason, maybe because this week is Teacher Appreciation week, and I was thinking over the teachers that have inspired me, I thought of the only teacher in high school that ever encouraged me to write, that actually said, "Have you thought of being a writer?" I don't remember his name except that he was old and his hair was like stretched out cotton balls, and I took a Creative Writing class with him my sophomore year. He entered one of my poems into a state contest without telling me and I only found out about it when he announced to the class that I had placed 4th in the whole state. It was the first time an adult really believed in my writing.

It changed my life.

I doubt that this class I’m teaching- the whole hour and a half with a stranger- will change any of these kids’ lives, but from what I know they come from a tough urban school where some kids go the other way- the violent/criminal way, you know? I don't know what will come of it. It's not just about doing a writing exercise with these kids and sending them away. It's about inspiring them and it doesn't have anything to do with ego. It's not about me saying, "Look, I did this." It's about them saying to themselves, "I don't know why, but I CAN do this," and this doesn’t have to be writing. Just something positive that maybe they don't have encouragement about in their daily lives. Something they just feel they have to do without being about to explain it.

Who knows if I would have gone to get my BA in Fiction Writing when everyone around me laughed and told me I would be poor for the rest of my life, if that teacher wouldn't have said anything. If he wouldn't have sent my poem into that contest, if he had said that I should consider being a writer.

Dose Market - Mother's Day

By Victor David Giron

We'll be at Dose Market this Sunday, May 12, for Mother's Day.  Dose is Chicago's premiere arts and crafts market and we're stoked to be there.  Bring your favorite recipe to our table and you get a free book while supplies last.  We're going to make a recipe book out of what we get and it's going to be great.  We'll also have advance review copies of MEATY, Essays by Samantha Irby, on sale for the first time in public.  Get Dosed with us.


dose market recipes

Wannabe - 6

By Chris Prunckle

chris prunckle


Wannabe is a blog series by Chicago area artist Chris Prunckle, author of our serial graphic story Asylum Doors, documenting his trials and tribulations as a wannabe artist.  Check back next week for a new posting.

See the previous installment of Asylum Doors here.  Stay tuned for the next installment coming soon, but now on a monthly basis with fuller stories.


Chris Prunckle is a graphic designer, illustrator and comic book artist banished to the suburbs of Chicago. Though an advertising industry minion by day, he slaves his nights away creating a mad little world.  He’s previously worked on the comics Fisted, Bonesetter, and The Scarab.  Follow him at @midjipress.

WORDS+MUSIC #3 on MAY 21st!

By Jacob S. Knabb

Curbside Splendor Publishing and Other Voices Books are proud to present WORDS+MUSIC! Join us at 9pm on Tuesday, May 21st, at Chicago's indie-music mecca The Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave.) as we celebrate the release of new books by three authors we LOVE: Joe MenoLindsay Hunter, and Rob Roberge. Then stick around for music by The PeekaboosSwimsuit Addition and headliners Billy Blake & the VagabondsFREE with an RSVP (just click here).  Facebook invite HERE.


*Poster by Jacob S.
Just Plain Cynful

By Cyn Vargas

“Any general statement is like a cheque drawn on a bank. Its value depends on what is there to meet it.”

Ezra Pound

This is the eighth week that I have been posting for Curbside and every week when the new blog post goes live I ask myself the same question: is anyone reading this? I mean of course Victor and Jacob read it because they have to. And I like to read it out loud to my dog while she waits for her food.


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