Just Plain Cynful

By Cyn Vargas

I’m going to give you a pep talk. I’ve been debating whether to write this post. What makes me any more special than anyone else to feel like I can give someone a pep talk? Well, you know what? When I’ve needed it, I’ve had friends and mentor remind me of why I’m doing what I’m doing. Why I don’t sleep. Why I stretch myself so thin, I’m transparent. Sometimes everybody needs a push. It doesn’t make us weak as writers or people to ask for that.

So, this post is for anyone who needs a kick in the ass, whether you asked for it or not.

Here it goes:

Work It.
You can be the best writer in the whole fucking world, but what does that matter without determination? Without hard work? Without passion? No one is going to just hand you a book deal. You need to finish a quality book first, no? People can believe in you, but if you don’t believe in yourself then what does it matter what they think? I could have a contract for a million dollars for 300 pages, but if those pages are blank, then there is nothing.

Dreaming Isn’t Enough.
Don’t think about how you are going to do whatever it is you dream of doing. Stop that shit. Dreaming is great, yes, but doing is better. Want a book published? Well, start by writing the first draft. Then revise and revise and revise and when you think you are done, revise some more. Then research, make connections, submit, and keep working at it. When your book is done, there is more work to do.

Want It.
I keep doing what I’m doing because this is what I want. I wanted to be a writer on top of mother, wife, employee, teacher, friend, etc, so I’m doing it. I don’t regret it. Why complain about something I want? Mind you, I’m fucking exhausted and I may grumble about that every now and again, but I never stop working.

Fuck Excuses.
I know very talented writers that do way more excuse-making than writing. Why? Either stop complaining you don’t have time to write or make the time to write. Time is always there for your passion. People ask me how I balance a full-time job, grad school, baby, marriage, teaching, and I never have a good answer. My only answer is a boring one, “I just do.” No one said it was going to be easy.

You’re Not Perfect.
I admit I’m flawed. I admit that a lot of the time, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just trying things out. Challenging myself. Allowing myself to make mistakes. That’s the only way to grow and growing can be scary.


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.
Wannabe - 2

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.

Just Plain Cynful

By Cyn Vargas

I’m running the Shamrock Shuffle 8k in less that 48 hours. The only problem is that I’m not an avid runner. Hell I’m not even really a runner. Let’s be honest, the only thing I really run to is my fridge to grab some more hot sauce for whatever it is I’m eating because I love hot sauce.

I haven’t trained at all for the Shamrock Shuffle. Why I thought I could train for it in the midst of all of the baby/thesis/work/freelance/teaching/Project Runaway/when do I get to sleep again? stuff in my life is beyond me, but I signed up anyway and I am going to follow through. Honestly I am not looking forward to the aches and pains that will be in my thighs and my feet and my ass. But despite all of that I can’t wait for the race.

See I did the Turkey Trot 5k a few months ago and that one I did train for, sort of (I went running all of two times). I don’t like listening to music when I run, so I just showed up for the Turkey Trot and ran and to my surprise something amazing happened.

Chicago Stories: 8 Dramatic Fictions

By Jacob S. Knabb

To honor the passing of Roger Ebert, a staff favorite here at Curbside Splendor, we are re-releasing the free mini-book version of Michael Czyzniejewski's Chicago Stories:  40 Dramatic Fictions.  Click below to read the complimentary mini-book and to enjoy Rob Funderburk's gorgeous illustrations, but most importantly flip to the end for Czyzniejewski's loving (and completely fictionalized) account of Roger Ebert's ill-fated second date with Oprah Winfrey! RIP, Mr.


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