Hi, Neighborhood Writing Alliance! Hi, philosophers! We haven’t been properly introduced. My name is Ben Taylor, and as of a couple of weeks ago, I am the new Blog and Social Media Intern around these parts. So I thought I would say hello before it got weird, and tell you a little about how I got here.
I grew up in Oak Park, not all that long ago. I went to school in the Boston area, where I studied literature and writing and tried to avoid driving ever, and came back to Chicago and its refreshingly sensible grid system a little over a year ago. (And while we’re on the subject of old maps, here’s an old and nice-looking one). I live in Rogers Park, which is a totally oddball and mostly delightful neighborhood that feels like it features most of the kinds of people there are in the world. And it’s where my parents lived when my older brother was born, just about a mile or so west of where I’m writing this. (Hi, Mom and Dad! I’m on a blog! Look no hands!)
What else to say? I’m a writer of fiction, mostly, so this whole biography thing feels weird to me if I can’t also stick a doomed whaling voyage or something in the middle of it. But I know I like reading and hearing the stories that come out of your lives. And I admire the honesty. Given some time, maybe I’ll be able to share a little more myself.
I came to the Neighborhood Writing Alliance and to this blog probably the same way a lot of you—whether readers here or workshop participants or volunteers or curious passersby—found yourselves here: by picking up the Journal of Ordinary Thought and finding it enjoyable and stimulating and fascinating and wanting to know more. I liked the feeling of this community, and the things all of you are endlessly writing and thinking about and fighting for, so I wanted to see if I could find a way into it somehow. I’m really looking forward to meeting as many of you as I can, and learning more about your work, and seeing what I can do to help make it happen, along with everyone else in this organization who is working so hard all the time.
I would like to hear from all of you, though, not just those of you involved in the workshops and represented in JOT. What would you like to see from this blog? Is there something you think we should be doing, something you can’t find elsewhere? We want it to be representative of, and responsive to, the readers and all the members of this community. We hope you consider this your forum, so please do get in touch, and don’t hold back your thoughts and reactions and ideas.