It’s almost the end of May, which means for the last few weeks there have been graduations taking place all around us. As NWA writer Marisel Melendez shares with us in her piece “Graduation Day,” the fulfillment of a formal education can come at any stage of life: the completion of a college degree may be an especially huge moment of accomplishment for people with kids of their own, not just for the graduates who [...]

This piece by NWA writer Edmee Cappas Velez, “This Is What I Miss,” is a litany of what’s unique to her homeland of Puerto Rico. She conveys those feelings beautifully: she appeals to each of the senses to craft a tapestry of what you might feel on a beach, and in the shade, and at home, over the course of a day and night. And then everything she remembers encountering there begins to coalesce into [...]

Virtual Book Club: The Conclusion of Miles from Nowhere!

We’re excited for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance’s 2013 Every Person Is a Philosopher Annual Benefit, taking place next Wednesday, May 22! Our featured speaker is Nami Mun, author of the bestselling novel Miles from Nowhere, in conversation with Annie Tully of One Book, One Chicago. We’ve been hosting a virtual book club of Mun’s novel, which with this post will be drawing to a close. If you’re just joining us, check back in with our first, second, third, and fourth installments, as [...]

“I can touch the universe this way”: Looking Ahead to Next Week’s Benefit with “Boundless Freedom”

As many of you know, our Every Person Is a Philosopher Annual Benefit is next Wednesday, May 22! We’re really excited and proud about what we have in store for the evening. If you’ve been following our book club discussion of Miles from Nowhere, you’ve been hearing about the Benefit’s featured conversation between author Nami Mun and Annie Tully, the director of One Book, One Chicago. But as you might have heard, that is hardly [...]

Virtual Book Club: Miles from Nowhere, Part 4

We’re excited for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance’s 2013 Every Person Is a Philosopher Annual Benefit, taking place May 22! Our featured speaker will be Nami Mun, author of the bestselling novel Miles from Nowhere, in conversation with Annie Tully of One Book, One Chicago. We’re hosting a virtual book club to read and discuss Mun’s work, so check this space almost every Thursday leading up to the benefit—and if you’re just joining us, check back in with our first, second, [...]

“And they all sound just the same”: On the Front Porch with “The Same”

The song “Little Boxes,” written and originally recorded in 1962 by Malvina Reynolds, has been covered by a lot of musicians over the years—including by her friend Pete Seeger. The song, a highly catchy and cheerfully satirical tune about the social conformity of post-war suburban America, lends itself well to adaptation and reinterpretation, as NWA writer Mary Gray Kaye did very capably with her piece “The Same.” Kaye’s statement about the “little mindsets” and the enforcing [...]

Virtual Book Club: Miles from Nowhere, Part 3

We’re excited for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance’s 2013 Every Person Is a Philosopher Annual Benefit, taking place May 22! Our featured speaker will be Nami Mun, author of the bestselling novel Miles from Nowhere, in conversation with Annie Tully of One Book, One Chicago. We’re hosting a virtual book club to read and discuss Mun’s work, so check this space almost every Thursday leading up to the benefit—and if you’re just joining us, check back in with our first and [...]

Music is powerfully tied to memory. And maybe especially to memories of youth, when songs echo or inspire feelings of rebellion, frustration, freedom, empowerment—or any of the million things a kid or teenager is feeling at once. In “First Taste of Freedom,” NWA writer Ilze Vitands remembers a glorious, long bike ride she took to Lake Michigan in secret. She capped the afternoon with a stop at a greasy diner and made her way to [...]

Virtual Book Club: Miles from Nowhere, Part 2

We’re excited for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance’s 2013 Every Person Is a Philosopher Annual Benefit, taking place May 22! Our featured speaker will be Nami Mun, author of the bestselling novel Miles from Nowhere, in conversation with Annie Tully of One Book, One Chicago. We’re hosting a virtual book club to read and discuss Mun’s work, so check this space almost every Thursday leading up to the benefit—and if you’re just joining us, check back in with our [...]

The season of outdoor celebration is approaching, thankfully. Including the spontaneous kind that grows with the addition of passersby, like in Phyllis E. Roker’s piece, “The Drums, The Drums.” The rhythm of her writing, and of the piece as a whole, is a remarkable thing: it’s as infectious as the drum beats being played at the 63rd Street Beach House. If by the time you see this post, there haven’t yet been festivals featuring music [...]