Lit Issue

Every Person is a Philosopher

Afterlives of the Journal of Ordinary Thought

Cristina Rutter / Courtesy to the Neighborhood Writing Alliance

On November 20, 2013, the board of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA) announced its immediate closure, rendering defunct the Journal of Ordinary Thought, the quarterly publication of the seventeen-year-old community literary institution. “It was an issue of capacity—a lot of nonprofits were hit by the economic downturn,” recounted Sue Eleuterio, a former board member and interim director of the NWA, as well as a workshop leader of ten years for Ordinary Thought. In spite of the despondency that accompanied the sudden collapse of an institution that shaped literary worlds across the city, the cherished memories—and numerous afterlives—of the Journal of Ordinary Thought still keep it in the hearts and minds of many Chicagoans today.

Visual Arts

A Whitewashing

William Walker's mural All of Mankind painted over

Chicago Public Art Group

“I don’t think painting it over is an appropriate thing to do any time.”

Visual Arts

A Radical Imagination

The 96 Acres Project

Courtesy of Maria Gaspar

“I think about the ways that that place has been silenced or made invisible, and that the only time that we see it is through the lens of racialized criminalization. Not just of race, but also of poverty.”


A Space of Her Own

Fabiana’s Bakery combines a simple, home-made style with skillful flavors and an eclectic atmosphere

Honest pastries that do not convey any hint of pretension

Visual Arts

Restoring Color

Caryl Yasko restores her mural “Under City Stone” in Hyde Park

“This is how muralists use walls sometimes: to sell thoughts through color, line, and form.”

Visual Arts

Mysteries from Childhood

“Go Away, Ghost Ship” at the Logan Center

Courtesy of Zak Harvey

“I read on Scooby Doo Wiki that the ‘Go Away, Ghost Ship’ episode is the first one where their lives are in danger. And that’s relevant, somehow.” – Alex Calhoun