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By: Bethany Mueller 

I recently went to a community theater production of Cabaret up in Gurnee, IL, a small town North of Chicago. As far as shows go, it was as I expected - one of those off-off Broadway affairs with a middling budget, a lot of heart, a few stumbles and a couple truly shining moments. And although this specific version was great and well worth a review of its own, it’s really the concept of the play that has me writing tonight. Cabaret centers around a starving artist author in Berlin in the 1920’s, a time of both tinsel and tumult. With his notebook in hand, the author scribbles away throughout the play, documenting the entertaining and often poignant moments of the motley cast of characters connected with the Kit Kat Club where the author has found a room. It is the quintessential picture of the novelist at work. And everything I aspire to be, if I am going to be truthful.

Cabaret hits on the romance of the writer, floating through the beauty of other people’s lives as the lofty voice above the day to day rat race. I can think of countless other examples in literature - the narrator of the Great Gatsby, Arturo Bandini of Ask the Dust, even Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris. All are bound together by some vague desire to be like Ernest Hemingway- capturing the true pain of the human condition. But what exactly is so attractive about this figure? He doesn’t actually engage with the life that he tells about. And dreamy as he is, he often does not seem to accomplish much more than walking the length of multiple cities. And certainly no one writes to be happy and rich, if looking at the track record of every literary great is any indication. Does telling the story of other people’s lives have any merit in itself? 
I’d like to think that it does.
Yet in my own life, I also do not want to forget to live. How do you balance the experiences worth living for with the time it takes to document them in all of their wonder and glory? To examine the moment is to remove yourself from the moment. But how else can I find time to write? It’s a question I am contemplating at 2 am today, which I suppose gives me the answer. 
But it is also possible that there is no real answer once you begin to question the usefulness of the author. I am sure that greater minds than mine have grappled with the issue, and I know that I can only read their conclusions in awe. For now it is enough that I write simply for myself - because I can’t imagine not writing when there is a whole great big beautiful world out there presenting the most alluring of challenges for my pen and page…or keyboard and screen. Though the medium has changed since Cliff Bradshaw plunked away at his typewriter in scene after scene of Cabaret, that feeling has not. 

First Workshop of 2014!

Check out these three hilarious add on stories we wrote during our first PROMPT workshop of 2014! 

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this is so great!(wish there was source attached for credit!)


this is so great!
(wish there was source attached for credit!)


(Source: gracebello, via rookiemag)

Check out the awesome Open Mic happening this Thursday at the Block Museum! Our own staffer, Bryce is one of the organizers! There will be cider donuts AND art, what could be better?! 

PROMPT Staff at our Halloween 2013 Party!

PROMPT Staff at our Halloween 2013 Party!


but check back to our #submissions tag to find out about when we are recruiting! Til’ then, we hope you enjoy reading and participating!


Review: Comedown Machine- The Strokes

By Syed Gardezi


     The Strokes’ latest record is a will of sorts. They’ve given up as a cohesive unit. Julien Casablancas and Albert Hammond want to split in different directions, and the other two just wanna live normal lives. In short, the Strokes don’t wanna be the Strokes anymore. They just wanna be regular guys, who happen to make art. So, Comedown Machine is just that, a comedown from all the glitz and fame produced by Is This It and Room on Fire to a more humble place. As we can see from artists like Kanye West, it’s tough being on the top.

      The first song succinctly conveys this message. Tap Out is a subdued announcement to fans saying, “We are done. We don’t want to be your band anymore.” People are disappointed, but that’s the whole point. The Strokes want to disappoint people. They want people to take a look at them and think – “wow those guys really suck now.” The whole point is to suck- to suck with grace and dignity.

       To hammer home their obsolescence, All the Time and 50/50 work as showcases of their former style – a style that has now gone awry. Just look at the chorus of All the Time:

You’re livin’ a lie

You’re livin’ a lie

You’re livin’ too fast

You gotta pray for the best

You never ask why

You never ask why

You’re livin’ a lie

Baby, you’re flying too high

 I could go on and analyze every single song on this album, but I think you guys get the point. The Strokes want us to learn that fame is overrated – it’s more fun working away from the spotlight.

Rating: 4/5