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.


By Jacob S. Knabb

Curbside Splendor Publishing & Madame ZuZu's present SALON SPLENDOR - a night of

intimate readings, literary discussion, warm music, and world-class tea at Billy Corgan's

northshore Tea House, Madame ZuZu's!

The program for the evening will include ORIGINAL WORK composed on the topic of

"ORIGINS" by the following authors:


Wannabe - 1

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


When my book is finally published where will bookstores decide to display it? The ‘Women Writers’ section? The ‘Latino Writers’ section? The ‘Chicago Writers’ section? The ‘35 and Over, Carb-Loving, Sailor Mouth Writers Under 5’4”’ section?

There are twelve stories in my short story collection, which is my thesis, and at least eight of them have Spanish words scattered throughout. Four are based in Guatemala or El Salvador and one is about someone who is from Venezuela. Tortillas make more than a handful appearances in my stories. So, yes, I am writing ‘Latin-American Fiction’.

Almost all of my stories are written in a female voice, told in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person, and my narrators are kids, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. My stories just aren’t told from a male point of view very often. So, yes, I am a ‘Woman Writer’ writing stories about women.

But why can’t I just be shelved as a writer? Why do I have to be pegged as one thing? (Mind you, this is all hypothetical for now since no one has pegged me as anything, so I’m just thinking out loud here.)

The vehicle for all of these stories is me: a Latin-American woman trying to be a writer. For me that means taking all of my experiences and feelings, all of that stuff that makes me me, and putting them on the page as honestly as I can. How we view certain situations or characters, how we view the world, are the things that make one writer different from another. We all tell the same stories but in our own distinctive ways.

So why shouldn’t I feel comfortable with the labels ‘Latin-American Fiction’ or ‘Woman Writer’? They are part of who I am, aren’t they? At the same time, I can’t control what stereotypes people think about when they hear those labels, but I’m old enough to know I don’t care especially if someone is basing their book choices on the color or gender of the author and not on the quality of the work. Those things are all beyond my control.

First and foremost, I just want for my stories to be read. I want to get published and find my audience. I want to not just be a good writer, but a great one. That’s my focus. So if I do end up being labeled a ‘Latin-American-Chicago-Woman’ writer, well those things are true.


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