1. Because of the streetcar.
That's right, the streetcar. Everyone has an opinion on it, whether it's right for the city or not, whether it should be completed or not, and it has come to represent the way this city operates in many ways. Cincinnati has been accused of self-sabotaging; I'd like to prove that wrong. Whether or not the streetcar happens*, this anthology will help remind us that we're capable of creating and completing something worthwhile together as a city.
2. Because we need to show the country that art exists outside of New York, Chicago, and LA.
Thanks to a national arts culture dominated by the coasts and Chicago, often other cities get left behind when considered for the cultural treasure troves we really are. You don't have to move to New York to be a writer, nor do you have to move to LA to become an artist; in fact, it's a lot cheaper to do it here. But people tend to forget that, the flyover gets lost in the muddle. This piece at Belt Mag reminds us that in the midwest we are at risk of being perceived as exclusively consumers, not creators. Let's remind everyone that we are CREATORS, and damn good ones at that.
3. Because we shouldn't be compared to New York, Chicago, or LA.
When I moved here two and a half years ago, I grew used to hearing the phrase "well, we're no Manhattan..." And my first reaction was to say "Of course we're no Manhattan. We're Cincinnati." This is a city all its own, with issues all its own, and there's a discovery process that needs to happen outside of a comparison with other cities. I want to have a conversation about Cincinnati for what it is, not what it is in relation to elsewhere.
4. Because you love this city.
Have you ever stood atop Carew Tower and had your breath taken away as you watched the sun set over the serpentine Ohio? Have you ever considered what visual riches we have in the architecture and in these hills? Have you ever been halfway through a Banh Mi at Pho Lang Thang or a pulled pork sandwich at Eli's or the cheese bread at Blue Oven Bakery and been beside yourself with how good it all tastes? Were you at Lumenocity? (Why weren't you at Lumenocity?) I can't shout loud enough how much I love this city. I can only write it. Or draw it. Or photograph it. I want to see what it is that others love about this city too.
5. Because you hate this city...
...but you want it to get better. We have our scars; we're complex. It's not all sunsets and trips to Findlay Market. There is still crime, there are still vacant buildings, there is still racism and provincialism, there are still battles over public transportation. Like any other city in the world, we are changing (and sometimes remaining stubborn) and growing (and sometimes shrinking), and without real analysis of what it means to have experiences as residents of this city, we won't have the ammunition to make it a better place.
6. Because you live here.
Every day you get on your bike or you get in your car and travel down Central Parkway or across the Western Hills Viaduct, avoiding potholes to get to Music Hall or Findlay Market or across the Brent Spence Bridge to watch the fireworks over the river from The Point in Covington. You hate 71. You hate 75 even more. You hate to love Skyline and the Bengals. But the community of it all - the love and the hate alike - matters to you. You have commentary on the way things should be headed, you have hope for it becoming the city of your dreams. It may already be the city of your dreams. In any case, you know this city better than anyone else, and your individual experiences matter when shaped as a collective; they matter to you, to the rest of the city, to the rest of the world.
7. Because you left.
When I lived in New York, there wasn't a day that went by when I wasn't reminded of something from home: memories of the woods and the hills and the river mighty and wide. Every time that plane descended back into northern Kentucky, I felt those ghosts stirring, and I know you do to, and I know you have words for what that feeling means to you. What this city means to the person you've become. Even if you never think about home: think about it now. You must have left for a reason. It might help you and help us to say why.
8. Because WKRP is not real.
And yet it's what every single one of your non-Cincinnati friends brings up every time you tell them you live in Cincinnati. Time to put the Venus Flytrap myth to rest. Submit today! (Tim Reid, we'd even accept a submission from you.)
All the submission information you need can be found here, but if you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is Friday, December 6th, but email and let me know if you have a good idea and just need a day or two more.
*For the record, I hope it does.