All the web’s a stage

Helen Gurley Brown in the sixties

When I saw my first byline in a magazine (it was above an article I wrote for Cosmopolitan on chutzpah, when I was 24), I was ecstatic. It wasn’t easy earning that byline.  The famed editor, Helen Gurley Brown, had to pass on every single word that went into her magazine and she often asked writers for countless revisions, sometimes rejecting their articles in the end, anyway.

I also wrote for New York Magazine in the seventies, and the editors there were equally demanding.  I’ll never forget when I put together a piece on great mugs, and the editor instructed me to fill them with boiling water to see how well they retained heat. Getting “published” back in the day was quite an accomplishment, even if it was some silly article on mugs.

Today, the web lets anyone anywhere express his creativity, communicate his ideas and give his advice. You don’t have to pass muster with a mighty editor. But that means we each have to become our own editor and wade through thousands of pieces of self-published material to find the really smart and cool stuff.  Google helps us find information. It doesn’t tell us about its quality.

Besides spawning writers and editors, the web has given birth to hundreds of thousands of cooks. It might be fun to spend a year testing “family” recipes on the web and compile a cookbook of exceptional examples.

While everyone knew it was pretty hard to become a “star” before the web, everyone thinks he can be a star of some kind today. If your special talent isn’t discovered on You Tube or though your blog, surely you’ll be discovered somewhere else.

Our lives are becoming one never-ending audition. All the world’s a stage has never had more meaning.

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