Our Monthly E-Zine of Prose, Poetry, & Art

August 2014

By Joey Pizzolato

Unfortunately, the arrival of August means that summer is slowly coming to a close. And, with that knowledge, comes that unquenchable desire for one last hurrah, one more adventure, even if finances or the lack of opportunity require we staying close to home.

This month I’ll be laying low, recovering from my month in Prague, Berlin, and Budapest, and doing the rest of my summer traveling through one of the many books I’ve yet to read. Ever since I was a kid—before I ever discovered the wonder of travel—I yearned to escape into the pages of a book. Whether reading about a world populated with wizards and witchcraft or diving into a who-done-it mystery, I wanted to immerse myself in someone else’s world, and have fun while doing it.

That’s what I hope August’s issue brings you: enjoyment—the chance to go someplace else, even if you physically cannot. I hope you have just as much fun reading the fiction by Dan Seiters and Timmy Reed as I do. And for those of you in Chicago, the poems by Derek Lazarski are a constant reminder that we can find so many inspiring places in our own backyard. But, if you can’t escape that insatiable itch to just move, then let the three poems by David Galef on Cheung Chau transport you to Hong Kong’s very own version of Long Island, or go relive Ashley Leann Ojedas’ recent trip to Montana through her photographs.

However you might be dealing with the end of summer, remember the final lines of Wayne F. Burke’s poem: keep it going. Keep it going as summer fades to fall.

Just. Keep. It. Going.

—Joey Pizzolato

Hands down, my favorite part of being an editor here at Curbside (aside from the instant gratification I get from sending out acceptance letters) is being able to work with and publish a diverse group of writers and artists each month; people who come from all different walks of life, who may be at different stages in their careers, but nonetheless share an unwavering commitment in presenting the world as truthfully and as honestly as they can. As artists, we meticulously craft setting and character and space to serve as a thin veil to what we see as reality, a veil that is fluttering in the wind, ever exposing the wonderful and sometimes cruel experiences of living in our world and of being human.
July 2014

By Joey Pizzolato

This year, I will have lived nearly half my life in Texas, the other half, Chicago. It makes for an interesting response to the age-old question: where are you from? When I was living in Chicago, my response was Dallas. And now that I live in Austin, I always defer to Chicago. It’s a question that really doesn’t have a tidy answer, even though that’s what we expect from it. 

When I first moved here the culture shock was more pronounced than in any country I’ve ever visited, no matter how foreign their culture may be from our own. Lack of public transit was one prominent factor—something I’d never realized I depended on so much until I had to do without. But there was also a difference in values, in the way we spend our free time and even in the way people here approach work and responsibility. 

I expected Austin to feel like home, but it never did—still doesn’t. And it wasn’t until I realized that it would never feel like home that I began to feel comfortable. Austin is a new city, and like any other major metropolitan area, deeply flawed and complicated in so many ways, but blossoming nonetheless. And that, at the very least, is interesting. The writer in me wants to see how it all plays out. 

But cities and people aren’t that different from one another. We are the product of place, of culture, of history, of choices that came long before but yet still affect us in a profound way. We are ever changing, and the best we can do is try to understand the sum of our parts. And I think July’s E-Zine is an attempt to do just that: discover how our geography, history, and family shape the way we view ourselves. 

Jessi Lee Narducci’s poem attempts to directly answer the question of where are you from? Heather Sager’s sparse story is a window into a decision that undoubtedly affects those involved for the rest of their lives. Poetry by Michael Salcman is rooted in history yet still deeply personal, and Dawn Wilson’s haunting story explores just how detrimental other people can be to our idea of self. And finally, Michelle Chen’s “Casual Walk” demands we take notice of all the things that make us what we are today. 

Austin is a place where the glass and steel of the city collides with the beauty of the Texas Hill Country, and photographer Ashley Leann Ojeda captures it in all its diversity.


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