Just Plain Cynful

By Cyn Vargas

I was speaking with a good friend and fellow writer, Mike Bogart, about what I should write for my next post, when he brought up the idea of using being a writer as an excuse to make bad decisions. This intrigued me and I asked him to explain. Once he started riffing on the topic I realized that there would be no better way to share what he meant than by simply using his own words. So without further adieu, here’s what Mike had to say:

All the writers—all the good ones—were drinkers. Right? Faulkner, Hemingway, Malcolm Lowry, Scott Fitzgerald, Hunter Thompson. Drunks, the lot of them. So sometimes, alone in my apartment on a Friday night, I would crack open A Moveable Feast and I’d come really damn close to thinking about asking myself: is another beer really necessary? Of course, it’s not necessary. It never is. But I’m going to have it anyways. Why? Because I’ll emote more keenly, weep more openly, know more intimately what waking up on the bathroom floor makes one feel. Because I’m a writer, and I need to know these things if ever I plan on getting published.

Right? Marcus Aurelius, in his Meditations, writes: “Happiness is a benign god or divine blessing. Why, then, my imagination, are you doing what you do? Go away, in the gods’ name, the way you came: I have no need of you.” Old Marcus and his “directing mind”—that reasoning, rational part of his brain that he wanted to cut off from emotion, sense impression, imagination, and impulse—seem to find that these things make him unhappy. It stands to reason, then, that one who uses his or her imagination frequently—a creative type, you might say—is doomed to unhappiness. This is the paradigm of much of the 20th century canon: the drunk, the recluse, the addict, the hopeless and despairing writer. In order to write, one must be unhappy. Or is it the other way around? In order to be unhappy, one must write?

As an impressionable first year graduate student, I believed in the myths of the Faulkners and the Hemingways, the Shirley Jacksons and the Thomas Pynchons. I believed that merely calling myself a writer meant I had their permission to make bad decisions.

File Under: Things to Do

By Jacob S. Knabb

Looking for cool things to do in Chicago this weekend? We recommend hitting a prom Cosplay-style on Saturday night and milling about at a book sale on Sunday afternoon!

Curbside LOVES 826Chi. We're all about teaching kids to enjoy writing, and we are more than happy to help raise money for that very purpose (especially if it's fun)! With that in mind, we hope to see you all at 826Chi's PROMIC-CON 2013 (we'll be there sporting some fancy duds). As 826Chi puts it:


r2d2 promic conForget everything you know about high school prom, because 826CHI is bringing you Promic-Con 2013: ONE PROM TO RULE THEM ALL. At 8pm on April 27th, come to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Ballroom (112 S Michigan Ave) dressed in all manners of fandom (or secondhand formal-wear) for a night of cosplay, (free) drinking, geeking out, and DANCING. Tickets are $40 for one, $75 for two, and can be purchased right here at this link. All proceeds from the event benefit 826CHI's free writing programs for thousands of Chicago students, ages 6-18. Promic-Con 2013: April 27th at the SAIC Ballroom.
Wannabe - 4

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.

Karaoke Idol Chicago!

By Jacob S. Knabb

Curbside Splendor Publishing, Another Chicago Magazine, and Quimby's Bookstore present the May installment of Karaoke Idol Chicago, a monthly fundraising series at Beauty Bar Chicago. Starting at 8pm on Thursday May 23rd, cultural and community oriented organizations 826Chicago, Chicago Adventure Therapy, Found Objects Theater Group, Mental Graffiti, and *RETURNING CHAMPS* Inspiration Corporation will battle it out for karaoke glory and a share of the door money.  A jambassador from each of the orgs and one from the crowd will battle for the Idol crown and a lion's share of the loot. Judges will select one person from the hour-long audience audition at the beginning of the night to compete as the sixth contestant so come early and sing. Offical competition begins at 9:30. Open-mic karaoke throughout the evening until close.

Spring Brings New Authors!

By Jacob S. Knabb

The third week of April 2013 was a busy one for Curbside Splendor Publishing, as we signed contracts with two of our favorite rock stars turned novelists, Tim Kinsella and Brian Costello! Both novels are set for a 2014 release and we are ecstatic to have them join the Curbside family.

Tim Kinsella (pictured here with legal counsel) signs a contract for his novel LET GO & GO ON & ON

In addition to his splendid novel The Karaoke Singer's Guide to Self-Defense, Tim Kinsella has also created a slew of ground-breaking albums with his bands Cap'n Jazz and Joan of Arc and once ruffled some feathers by refusing to grant interviews and instead forcing journalists to allow themselves to be interviewed by him (an idea we might just have to revisit in the future). Kinsella's poetic, second-person novel Let Go and Go On and On will center upon the life and career of actress and model Laurie Bird. Look for it in Curbside's Spring/Sumer 2014 catalog.

Brian Costello (sporting his ubiquitous Beefheart Tee) signs a contract for his book LOSING IN GAINESVILLEBrian Costello is a writer by day and a drummer by night. His first book, The Enchanters Vs. Sprawlburg Springs, was released by Chicago's beloved Featherproof Books in 2006. Since then Costello has curated a host of superb live entertainment in Chicago, most recently hosting Shame That Tune at Hideout Inn. He's also been drumming for Outer Minds.


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