One of my favorite reference books is The Dictionary Of Clichés, a mass-market volume that I found for a dollar at some store somewhere. It claims that the phrase “hook, line, and sinker” implies gullibility, although I like to think of it implying totality, utter wholeness. This could be because in ninth grade I fell for the old “gullible isn’t in the dictionary” trick, which was perpetrated on me by my biology teacher. Oh, how everyone laughed at me believing in authority. It was a lesson. Either way, the phrase apparently dates all the way back to the mid-19th century, which makes it appropriate for this issue about finding answers in the past.
This is Maura Magazine’s 20th issue! It’s been a fun road and one not without its bumps along the way, and I am so grateful that you are reading this right now. This issue is also pretty special to me because it marks the first time I’m publishing Tom Ewing, whose early-millennium thoughts on pop music helped shape my critical outlook more than any other writer out there, and whose unwavering support of me once led to us having a Transatlantic phone conversation about us starting a magazine—a seed that took more than a decade to flower, but one that I am forever grateful to him for planting in the first place.
This issue marks the debut of our pinball columnist—the wonderful Miles Raymer, whose acquaintance I made while editing at the Chicago Reader and whose passion for flippered frippery is astonishing. A long time ago a friend called my bowling technique “enthusiastic but mediocre,” and that description could also apply to my pinball aptitude as well. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t get enough practice at the Mid-Island Plaza—the Long Island shopping center later rechristened the Broadway Mall, which had a seedy, smoky arcade during my youth. It doesn’t have one any longer—the only store that’s stayed intact, with the same name and same location since I was a kid, is, I swear, Fredrick’s of Hollywood—but Michele Catalano’s tale of teenaged debauchery that took place under its roof (it involves Leo Sayer and some strategically pulled plugs) brings to mind memories of those shabbier, if slightly more fun, days.
Today a new version of Maura Magazine is availble for download from the iTunes Store, and I’m thrilled about the work that the team at 29th Street Publishing did on it. There are a bunch of user-interface improvements, including smoother navigation & scrolling, smaller issue sizes, improved performance and stability, and an lower overall memory footprint. (Tim Moore did heroic work on the design, which he’s been teasing over the past few issue’s covers, and Natalie Podrazik did top-notch work on the coding.)
For those of you who haven’t subscribed, too, there’s a new default issue for you to download: Best Of Maura, which collects some of the outstanding writing that’s run in the magazine’s first 17 (!) issues. Maura Magazine wouldn’t be where it is without the stellar work of our immensely talented contributors—not to mention our fiction editor Jami Attenberg and our copyeditor Brad Nelson—and I am so grateful for their thoughtful, wonderful writing.
Thanks to the team at 29th Street for their hard work, and thank you for downloading the app, subscribing, and offering your feedback. It’s been a wonderful ride so far and I’m excited for the many things coming up. Drop me a line and let me know what you think, or just to say hi.
Download the new Maura Magazine at the iTunes Store.