Woman or Wombat?

Currently I am in fully editing mode, as I wrestle my old school magazine to the ground. Last year I worked as half of the team, this year I am the sole editor. I was looking back affectionately over the last 14 months, when I recalled writing this for for our first edition almost exactly a year ago – don’t you love nostalgia?


I’ve just taken on the post of co-editor of a school related magazine (no, not impressive; relatively small circulation, voluntary – but fun.)

My new title is Editor@Large, not a soubriquet entirely to my taste. I’d much prefer being Editor@a-little-Juno-esque-but-not-too-bad-considering-her-age-and-four-pregnancies, but that would be quite difficult to fit onto a name tag or an e-mail address. The title would improve if the L in “large” wasn’t quite so big itself. Presumably it’s a capital letter to catch attention. The other way of achieving impact would be to have two lowercase ‘l’s. However, my concern is that on seeing a double l, the eye would naturally read what one would expect to see after ll, possibly making me the Editor@llama.

When Sasha rang to interview me, we had a general chat about my writing experience (extensive), with me stressing heavily my enthusiasm and ability to learn quickly (fairly extensive)  in the hope that she wouldn’t spot my limited editorial experience (extensive-R not-me). Maybe it was this elephant in the room that provided the title Editor@Large. Yet, I consider myself lucky; I could have ended up as Editor@Greyandwrinkly.

I enthused about how much I would enjoy the work. She then informed me that my rival for the post had been Delia Smith’s editor at BBC Books. I needed to fight for this job or walk away. Was I man or mouse? More accurately, woman or wombat? My best interview technique surged to the fore. “Take her. She’ll be terrific. Wads of experience. Completely perfect. Goodb…”

“Hang on,” said Sasha. “How would you feel about sharing the job?”

Happy as a wombat with two tails. I figured 0.5 of an editorial job was a definite improvement on the potential zero of a minute ago. Luckily, Viv was happy to have a co-pilot. She wanted to introduce a Cookery Section with us as self-selected quality controllers. Yessss! I wanted a blog section and to write a few pieces, so now all we need is someone to do the bits we don’t want to. ‘Wanted: worker-mutt to do all the dull bits.’ Response to that ad might be limited.

Viv and I spend so much time e-mailing each other, our thinking is now on parallel lines, like twins; we are Siamese, joined at the keyboard. I’m wondering if, for the sake of balance, Viv might consider changing her title to Editor@Little.

We’ve shamelessly plundered other magazines to find ideas that we can modify (ok, steal) for magazine. Because we’re worth it. Tosses hair. We hope people like it; if not they can send criticisms to westminstergasworks@10downingstreet.

Will we succeed? No idea. If not, at our launch party they’ll just be Viv and I, two balloons, one chocolate cake; so not all bad, thinking about it.


I’m off to boldly go where no mag has gone before.




About alisongardiner1

Writer of YA series of books. Broadcaster/podcaster Litopia After Dark.
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