For our capstone course, we were prompted to explore some online magazines and pick out our three favorites featured in the article “10 Articles Every Writer Should Read.” This really inspired me to look at some publications I’d never even heard of (and helped me generate a huge bucket list of articles saved for later.) Here were three magazines that stuck out to me:
The Atlantic. I’d heard of The Atlantic, but never really explored the magazine until now. The tone is very innovative and youtuful, and doesn’t seem to try too hard to be something it’s not; headlines are straightforward and inviting, yet articles include just enough big words to make you feel like you’re learning something. (For example when reading the article on writing a great essay linked below, I had to look up the word “fraught.” What a neat word. The more you know.) The Atlantic exemplifies the type of magazine one would read for their own personal benefit and exploration, rather than trying to look bougie (I’m looking at you, The New Yorker). Also, I stumbled upon a bunch of great photo essays, like this one on modern-day Appalacia.
The New Yorker. Okay, I know I just said a couple of sentences ago that I thought the New Yorker was elitist and bougie. Which I still stand by. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great magazine! If you’re pretending to absorb an article on new-wave operatic techniques over a cup of eight-dollar coffee whilst shooting a pretentious gaze behind your tortiseshell Warby Parkers, then you may not be reading the New Yorker for the right reasons. But if you’re reading to see offbeat topics through a new perspective, to explore fine-tuned fiction or to see witty cover design art, then the New Yorker’s for you.
Vanity Fair. Historically, I’ve used Vanity Fair solely for collaging and looking at cool ads. (I know, I’m horrible.) But this motivated me to see the magazine in a new light; it seems that Vanity Fair follows a trend of presenting current events topics throuh an intellegent lens, in stark contrast to most magazines I glance at in the checkout line of the grocery store. I also appreciate their approach twoard fashion journalism. Rather than presenting a shallow “hot or not” type of fashion critique that basically only considers what black fringe thing the Kardashians are wearing (nod to People), the writers really delve into the future of the industry, following innovative trends and representing lesser-known designers and artists.
My favorite article that I stumbled upon when looking through these magazines was To Write a Great Essay, Think and Care Deeply (Joe Fassler, The Atlantic). Part book review, part interview, and part motivational life lesson, everyone can learn something from this piece. The message seemed especially relevant to this class, as it explores the question of whether a writer can get too absorbed in their own interests and neglect other topics. Overall, the writer seemed to conclude that, if you’re passionate about something, that drive will shine through in your work and, therefore, writers should write about their interests. Since we all seem to be bouncing between project ideas, this piece really helped me realize that, even if I think my idea may seem shallow or uninteresting to others, my passion for the topic can drive its far-reacing influence.