"And some hear her echo when they hear a distant car horn": On the Front Porch with "A New Chicago Legend"

Something about the winter makes looking for parking in Chicago feel even more brutal. Today, we share an account by NWA writer Ilze Vitands, of the Bezazian Branch Library group, of what may happen when there’s no spot to be found. From “I Believed Every Word,” the Journal of Ordinary Thought‘s Winter 2012 issue. A NEW CHICAGO LEGEND (A Work in Progress…) Ilze Vitands The legend’s not spoken, and yet it persists, That a creature […]

Endowing Power

“Sometimes you need a little folklore to enforce the rules” – Barbara Banks, from “Says Who,” published in “I Believed Every Word: JOT Writers on Urban Legends, Rumors, and Tall Tales,” Journal of Ordinary Thought, Winter 2010 Many of us grew up hearing folklore—stories and warnings that cautioned us from staying out too late, eating too much candy, or telling lies. I recently read Barbara’s piece during a presentation on NWA’s work exploring urban legends […]

“I Believed Every Word,” JOT Winter 2012 Release Reading Recap

Guest post by Emmoretta Jones, NWA Writer It was such a nice way to start the week and end the Monday; on April 23, 2012 at 6pm, Neighborhood Writing Alliance writers, friends, and fans gathered into the cozy upper level of the Goodman Theatre in downtown Chicago for the unveiling of the much anticipated Winter 2012 issue of the Journal of Ordinary Thought: “I Believed Every Word: JOT Writers on Urban Legends, Rumors, and Tall […]

The Ballad of Joseph Laroche: Guest post by NWA Writer Sharon F. Warner

Joseph Laroche was a real hero a hundred years ago, but surprisingly few people know about him. I first found out about him in 2000, when there was a Titanic exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. The story of Laroche and his family was so touching that I felt I would have to write about it; however, it was more than a decade before I actually did so. When the Neighborhood Writing Alliance […]

Earth Day and “Along the Shores of the Acidic River”

Yesterday was Earth Day! How did you celebrate? Here at the office, we’re also celebrating the release of “I Believed Every Word” with the release reading at the Goodman Theatre (170 N. Dearborn) from 6–8:30 p.m. TONIGHT. All attendees will receive a free copy of the journal and get a chance to hear writers read their work. One of the pieces being published is Helena Marie Carnes-Jeffries “Along the Shores of the Acidic River.” Similar […]

On Tuesday, we talked about how urban legends can make us laugh or entertain us. But there’s also a much darker side to urban legends. While many “scary” urban legends are supposed to keep kids out of trouble (the boogeyman) others seem to exist to stereotype, shame, intimidate, or exploit certain groups. In the upcoming “I Believed Every Word” issue of JOT, Rochelle George Wooding’s “Mirror, Mirror Approved” and K.C. Hagans’ “Tom’s Not Such A […]

“I believed every word”: On the Front Porch with “Soup Anyone?” by Barbara Banks

Today on The Front Porch we’re getting a sneak peak at “I Believed Every Word,” the Winter 2012 issue of the Journal of Ordinary Thought. “Soup Anyone?” by Barbara Banks describes her childhood fascination with a mysterious neighborhood figure, and inspired the title of this issue of JOT. SOUP ANYONE? Barbara Banks Back in the late 1950s, we lived in the Harold Ickes housing projects located on 22nd and State, which are now torn down. […]

Urban Legends and Humor

Many urban legends focus on moral lessons and many more on fear (The Wahoo Man, Resurrection Mary) but some are just plain funny. If a story gets a laugh, who cares if it’s not 100% accurate? In “Juan Bobo’s Pig,” published in the upcoming urban legend themed issue of JOT, Norma Mateo describes a popular story from her childhood in Puerto Rico. Juan Bobo is a naïve boy who misunderstands his mother’s request that he […]

Sometimes You Need a Little Folklore to Enforce the Rules: JOT Writers Define Urban Legends

The release reading of “I Believed Every Word,” the Winter 2012 issue of JOT is one week away! We’re counting down to the reading with a week on the blog devoted to urban legends, the issue’s theme. We’ve talked about what urban legends are, why we believe them, how stories become legends and much more on the blog before, but today we’re going to let some of the great stories and poems from the upcoming […]

Is it Urban Legend?

For the last several weeks, a group of NWA writers have attended a workshop with local “Discopoet” Khari B, during which they have written and tirelessly edited their pieces for the upcoming If These Blocks Could Talk performance. The themes covered in these pieces span from the hilarious to the scary, and address just about everything from blues legends to food, from family to the Chicago fire. Even with such a range of subject matter, […]