One year ago today an idea as mobile app was born as Chicago Literary Map welcomed the world. In turn, the world welcomed it. I have charted stories from people I would not otherwise meet, whose stories help paint a picture of what life is like, was like, or could be like in our broad shouldered city. I’ve also encouraged my family and friends to write, who are great storytellers, but have not written anything other than an email in years. And artists that may not think of their writing as publish-ready and the vets. From online courting, Cocktails on Clybourn, This Morning in Old Town to Time at the Pacific Garden Mission, the voices of the city are intersecting, but haven’t even begun to represent the complex beauty of the hog butcher.
I would like to take a moment for gratitude and thank DNAinfo’s Lizzie Schiffman for her piece on CLM. I would also like to thank Mike Stephens for bringing me on Outside the Loop Radio, and John Rich from the Literary Guild Complex for inviting me to read and talk about the map. I’m excited to collaborate with Salli Berg Seeley and her Explore Chicago class at DePaul University this winter quarter and to John Lillig for connecting us. The road ahead for Chicago Literary Map includes unearthing more stories, planning reading events, new collaborations, and the unknown. There are many ways to capture a moment, and I greatly appreciate all the writers who take the time to do it with words. Here’s to you! And here’s to Chicago—a muse like no other.
– Stephanie Plenner