Imagine I am an editor. I edit an online magazine, and have full responsibility for selecting the content. My job is to scan the web, focusing mainly on blogs, and choose what I consider to be the best writing on a broad variety of topics for publication in my magazine. My focus is often women’s issues and women’s writing, because that is what interests me, but I frequently publish articles by men. The scope of my magazine is wide-ranging, and changes from month to month, according to what I discover and what delights me. I publish witty, acerbic, moving articles and above all I prize excellent writing. My magazine has no editorial policy, no editorial board and no mysterious benefactor who insists on one article per month on Ferraris or fine wines. All decisions are mine and mine alone. I eschew product placement and advertorials (no Mauritian spa visits for me), fundamentalism and intolerance, sexism and racism, anything overly scatalogical or profane (unless it supports the aim of the article).
My magazine is one of the fastest growing sites on the web, with visitors flocking in their daily thousands to read my selection of the month’s best content. I am not Huffington or Dooce, but somewhere in-between – sometimes polemical, sometimes strident, usually funny and always entertaining. If you like to think, you like to be amused, you like to know what the good writers out there are saying, then my magazine is where you come. I save you the hassle of trawling through millions of mediocre blogs to point out, for your reading pleasure, the very best writing the web has to offer.
Welcome to my first edition. One day when my magazine is famous and my mortgage is being paid as I lie in bed, file my nails and eat Belgian chocolates for breakfast, you will be able to say you were one of my first readers. Quite likely you will also be one of my first contributors (see below).
The first edition focuses on quality. I want to show you the best writing I have found on the web in the last few weeks. I want to share with you articles and posts that have me laugh and think, but above all, that have delighted me with their unswerving dedication to beautiful words.
Let me introduce our first piece. It’s written by Emily of Telecommuter Talk, a blogger who is consistently witty and thoughtful. She deserves to be famous (or at least well-read) because her writing is fabulous. Her article is called The Wives of Others, and it celebrates friendship between women, men and their wives.
The next article is by Litlove, one of the most erudite bloggers writing today (and she will still be writing tomorrow). Every post is a jewel, every post is challenging. In the one I have selected from her recent oeuvre, Litlove veers away from literature to delight us with her insights into learning The Tango.
In many ways, I am a modern woman, except in that I loathe my mobile phone. It sits in my bag “for emergencies”, but usually the battery is empty. I loathe the loudness, the rudeness and the global inability to make proper arrangements (“call me when you get here and then I’ll tell you where we are”) that make up the mobile phone culture. I’d like to arrange a Put Down Your Mobile Phone ceremony, where all addicts could return their phones to their local police stations and life could become a little slower and a little more peaceful. (Don’t try to take my broadband away, though.) Here is a provocative piece from Kerryn, of the always-excellent White Thoughts blog, called Who Died to Make Your Mobile Phone?
No edition is complete without a diatribe. A few days ago, the wonderful Wendz was having a very bad day. She took it out on the blogosphere in a post called The Blog Commandments. I have to say I agree with every single one of the rules that have been handed down to us by Wendz, and find myself muttering “Not too many widgets” as I do the kindergarten run.
There needs to be food. Food is essential. My favourite food blogger and fellow South African is Jeanne of Cook sister! Her posts are well-written and well-researched, and her photographs are beautiful. So add an atmosphere of elegance and glamour to this month’s edition, and to make us feel cosmopolitan, here is her review of London restaurant Yauatcha.
Irish-but-living-in-Sweden blogger Paddy_K comments on the oddities of his adoptive country. He writes well, and amusingly, about politics and pop culture. Please enjoy this piece on a new Swedish phenomenon: Gothic Lolitas. Please also note that if I were fifteen now, this is definitely how I would be dressing.
Somewhere in the blogosphere lives the Queen of the Absurd, the ProblemChildBride. She tells a shaggy sheep story like no other. Currently residing in WeirdyBeardsville, USA, the PCB hails from Scotland where, apparently, one knows a thing or two about sheep. I have selected a wonderful post of hers for your delectation. It’s not about sheep, but about bears. Look here and admire as PCB and family Play to the Sitting-Room.
I have just finished reading Vikram Seth’s Two Lives, a poignant memoir of his great-uncle and aunt. As I read it, it made me think of marriage, loyalty and love. In her review of The Post-Birthday World, Diana writes with wonderful clarity about the book, and her experience of reading it. This experience highlights her feelings about her husband and her marriage in unexpected ways. It’s a delightful post.
Another blogger whose writing I love is Courtney of The Public, The Private and Everything In Between. Her prose is lush and evocative, whether she’s writing about organic vegetables, views from the lake or politics. Here she writes the Reasons You May Not Give If Don’t Want Hillary for President.
I do hope you enjoyed the first edition of the Charlotte’s Web magazine. In conclusion, I would like to introduce a competition: the magazine needs a name – something witty and quirky that encapsulates the catholic and eclectic nature of my new publication. I will send a box of Belgian chocolates to whoever can come up with the best one. Leave your suggestion in the comments. I will contact the winner by email.