Allison Sprouse and Rachel Wood Turner: Masterminds of modern ink

modern ink magazineSometimes gu.ebers come in pairs. This month, I’d like to showcase the genius of Allison Sprouse and Rachel Wood Turner. On June 1, they released the premiere issue of modern ink, the prettiest new online magazine at school, and quite frankly, they knocked my socks off.

Everything about the magazine looks as though the duo has done it a thousand times before—but without losing a fresh design sensibility.

I must admit, I feel relieved. Whenever my friends announce a new endeavor, especially a creative, artistic endeavor, a twinge of anxiety creeps into my mind: What if it sucks and I have to scramble to find something nice to say?

That anxiety feels similar to taking a road trip, eating hot wings for lunch, and hitting a stretch of interstate without a bathroom for fifty miles. Minor seismic activity doesn’t guarantee a major eruption, but it’s nice to have a place to take cover, or in this case, to be wretched in privacy.

I never know what to expect with friends’ creative ventures, but I always hope to maintain composure and offer the appropriate amount of support and encouragement. We’ve all encountered our fair share of naysayers, or Dementors, as I like to call them—creatures that try to “help” by pointing out how to improve your latest endeavor but instead highlight everything that is wrong with it, and by relation, you. They pop your joy like a balloon. Dementors can take the shape of parents, teachers, coaches, spouses, and psycho ex-girlfriends. They often claim that they’re just being “realistic.” They themselves rarely create anything.

Not wanting to be a Dementor, I try to juggle honesty, constructive criticism, and praise at art openings, dance recitals, poetry readings, and, of course, concerts.

“Hey, you’ve got to come hear my new band, Buxom Wench!” Eric says.

You force a smile and say, “Absolutely. I’d love to.”  After six shows and as many offers, you realize that you can’t put it off any longer without looking flaky.

You spend a Saturday night listening to the screamo ballads of Buxom Wench in a dark, dingy bar that may have blood on the floor. Ninety minutes of careful observation confirm that you are the only male not wearing any makeup, but at least you weren’t the one killing Eric’s dreams.

If your friend wanted to perform with several dead rats carefully positioned on stage and had to improvise a guitar solo so that the bassist could run off stage and vomit his would-be alcohol poisoning, then you would try to find something nice to say:

“I really like the metal on your outfit. When did you learn to swallow fire?”

You understand why I felt some small measure of relief when my friends Allison and Rachel pulled off something magnificent. My applause is pure, sincere admiration without a hint of “Thank goodness the show is over. Thank goodness no one tried to sell me drugs.”

modern ink gives any chic lifestyle magazine out there a run for its money. The design, layout, and photography are all top notch, and the content is tasteful and varied: design and styling tips, recipes, profiles of interesting people, write-ups of alluring places, playlists, literature recommendations, and reviews. My favorite part? The magazine is easy to read. Noisy advertisements and other visual clutter don’t detract from the articles, and the online reader is easy to use.

The writer in me also appreciates not stumbling across piles of typos and grammatical errors. Many print magazines have sliced and diced their editorial staff, and in doing so, they give their writers a black eye. modern ink pays its contributors the respect of delivering clean, well-edited final drafts.

I tricked the modern ink masterminds into letting me write a piece. “I’m Not A Pet Lover” ragdoll catdifferentiates between having an appreciation for animals and an aversion to pets that act like soulless dictators. I continue to be flummoxed by my parents’ cat Max and his acts of cruelty that no longer appear random. I crunched some numbers and figured out that a two-ounce can of cat food costs more than a comparable portion of filet mignon.

“I’m Not A Pet Lover” runs from page 83 through page 86.

Check out the premiere issue now:

You’ll be glad you did. Kudos to Allison and Rachel for their hard work and a fine effort right out of the gate.

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