My favourite thing in the whole wide world is reading trashy magazines with a glass or six of Chardonnay, in bed.
What can I say? I’m a cheap date.
Magazines have always been my vice since I bought my first Just Seventeen at the age of twelve.
Since I was a little girl, one of my unfulfilled dreams has been to have a piece published in a glossy magazine; to see my name in print.
Which is why I signed up for a magazine writing course at the Sydney Writers Festival recently – where I not only lost my writers festival v-plates but I also fell in love with the very lovable Benjamin Law.
My first writers festival and my first cougar-crush on a gay man.
I’m not exactly sure what I expected to take away from the festival but I came away inspired to learn more about ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. How funny is it that when we are young we often resent education and learning simply because we are force-fed it, and when we mature into middle age we suddenly crave learning, only to be hampered by dying brain cells?
Timing has never been my strong point.
As you are aware, there have been some fundamental changes in my outlook recently. Not only have I become a feminist (here) thanks in part to the Women and Power debate, but I’ve also decided to chase my dream of becoming a magazine writer as well.
Put it down to being a late-developer, but one of the things I truly love about life is our ability to constantly evolve – I truly believe that we can be anything we want to be with the right passion.
And this year I want to be a writer.
Benjamin Law (sigh) is a successful freelance writer and he was teaching us aspiring writing newbies how to write for magazines. You may already know Benjamin – he is this rather cute – looking Asian Adonis with a wealth knowledge in the writing field, having written for magazines such as Frankie and Good Weekend as well as his own book Gaysia – Adventures In The Queer East.
He was an inspirational teacher – passion for one’s craft is very sexy infectious.
I was rooted to the spot for the whole three hours of Benjamin’s talk like some sad old groupie – partly because Ben wanted to cram so much into the session that he refused to let us out of the room for even a toilet break, (and I was worried that if I uncrossed my legs I might embarrass myself, Ben obviously being too young to understand the correlation between middle-age and the untrustworthy pelvic floor), and partly because I was absorbing all this wonderful new information.
But what was really interesting was finding out which magazines our little group of aspiring writers read on a day-to-day basis.
Benjamin made each of us pick three magazines we read and then we had to share them with the group, along with our reasons for selecting them. It was so much better than the usual ‘describe yourself’ cringe-fest.
Although daunting. You could see everyone initially rack their brains in search of their most cerebral picks, (while I hastily crossed out Hello and OK from my notepad).
You see your choice of reading material is one of the most personal pieces of information you can divulge to strangers – it reveals so much about who you are.
My choice merely served to reveal that I am in fact a liar when faced with a ‘fight or flight’ situation.
Most of the magazines I read these days are articles that I cherry-pick from Twitter. Like most people, I am time-poor when it comes to reading. However, I do still like a good old-fashioned Sunday glossy, so my first choice was Sunday Life Magazine. Time Magazine was my second ‘up-my-own-ass’ read (because I do vaguely remember flicking through a copy in the doctor’s waiting room in 2011); my third choice was an online magazine called ADD Mag because I am eternally in search of the solution to Kurt and his idiosyncrasies.
So what did my choices say about me?
I still like a ‘lazy’ comfort read that covers a good cross-section of fluff as well as more thought-provoking content, (preferably facilitated by a cold glass of white wine); I like to think of myself as a latent intellectual until I actually open the pages of Time Magazine when my eyes begin to glaze over (particularly if I get stranded in the technology section); and my main aim in life is to make my son conform to my will.
Whether you’re a literary snob, a budding feminist or a secret ‘thinker’, here are some of the other magazines that were recommended by the group:
Dumbo Feather – (www.dumbofeather.com) ‘Behind extraordinary ideas there are extraordinary people’
Bitch Media – (www.bitchmagazine.org) ‘A fresh, revitalizing voice in contemporary feminism’
Meanjin – (www.meanjin.com.au) ‘A literary magazine that reflects the breadth of contemporary thinking’
Lip Mag – (www.lipmag.com) ‘wonderful new female artists and musicians, a fresh outlook on feminism, and enough sass to shock the fainthearted’.
The Hoopla – (www.thehoopla.com.au) ‘An online news and magazine site for a community of wise, warm, witty and wonderful women’.
What do the magazines you read say about you?