I've been mad for magazines since I was little. Something about words and photos bound up together stole my affections. It seemed to me that magazines were both a destination and an event.
I reveal my nerdhemian self without gentleness or censor with what I am about to admit;
I have favorite magazine writers and photographers.
I have a picture of Ruth Reichl taped to the inside of my editorial planner. Whenever I switch to a new one, her picture comes out of the last, to inhabit the next.
For the uninitiated, she was the Editor In chief of gourmet magazine, when such a thing existed, and has written several books, all of which make me curse and cry, suddenly aware of my tattered wishes to be like her, like sails against the hurricane that says it is a child's dream.
I don't care, though, as with awe and admiration and envy and adoration I read all of my drafts to her benevolently smiling face, taped with care to my notebook.
Also, I pretend I'm her, when I edit. What would Ruth Reichl say?
When Gourmet closed is illustrious doors, I grieved. Not for the loss of a food magazine. The world wouldn't miss that. No. It was the way they showed life. The marriage of rich words and pictures deep enough to dive into.
Francis Lam is my favorite editorial writer. The man chooses words that leave you stunned and hungry, racing for the next and the next, until you're pounding through his landscape at a breakneck pace, and then, he ends each sentence like a cliff. He runs you right up to the edge and leaves you dazzlingly high, and dangerously close.
One of the best gifts I ever got came from my sister. Every year she goes to a giant book sale and once she found a stack of Gourmet magazine back issues. I have lovingly read through each page.
I think the picture becomes clear, my sentiments toward the editorial word and photograph are ... involved, to say the least.
The glossy magazine has been struggling in recent years. Even my loyal devotion was suffering as I watched the industry become increasingly precarious under the weight of its own predictability. Struggling against the current, I wondered if the likes of Instagram and Pinterest and blogs would eventually usurp the royal page.
And so I thought, until about eighteen months ago when, to my everlasting delight, I began to notice a new breed of magazine gaining momentum; the artisan, indie magazine.
Full of thoughtful, evocative images and printed on heavy, matte cardstock pages, (or if not that, still artfully designed, like a little sensory holiday ) these magazines are for the Aesthetics what the slow food movement is to the Foodies. The other day, I discovered @printtext a local magazine shop here in Indy, totally dedicated to this new breed. Part Salon, part library, walking in is a little like being invited into some Parisian studio. You must just trust me when I say; go. Put on your favorite beads or your ironic horn rimmed glasses, or the very magnificent, slightly rebellious black cigarette pants which sort of sum up your soul or whatever makes you feel like you belong somewhere brilliant and go.
In the meantime, in January, long before I found PrintText, I nerdily did some research, and compiled quite a robust list of magazines which I intend to purchase, read, and if I like them in my hands as much as in theory, I'm going to submit work of my own to them.
Don't worry, Ruth Reichl. I haven't given up.
and for you, oh reader, in future posts I will provide the list, and my subsequent impressions as I do the arduous work of evaluating.
It won't be easy, but someone has to do it.
Me. I'll do it.