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Thursday, November 4, 2010
The end of my Good Weekend column
What a strange day. Much of it spent feeling like George Clooney (but unfortunately not feeling George Clooney…) in Up in the Air, comparing Qantas lounges around Australia.
They really should put meat pies out.
Then it got even weirder because today was the day that it finally hit the media – via Caroline Overington’s excellent piece on The Australian blog – that my column in Good Weekend is coming to an end after 12 years.
I found out a couple of weeks ago, while I was packing for my two week book tour. My first reaction was to keep it a secret, as though that would somehow make it not true.
But it quickly became slightly surreal to stand at my book events there with audiences telling me my column is the ‘only thing’ they buy the Saturday Sydney Morning Herald/The Age for and knowing it was about to cark it. So it only seemed to right to starting warning them that November 20th is the last one.
I must say the timing is excellent. To be greeted with rooms full of the smiling faces of lovely people – sometimes two different events in a day – who are there because they really like my work is exactly what I needed to get through it.
Mind you, I have been a journalist for thirty years, so I do know how these things work. Also I’ve known since I moved back to the UK to be near my ageing mother (she’s 88) that I was probably on borrowed time and I’m proud that I managed to get 600 of them out before the axe fell.
So I’ve taken it on the chin. And I didn’t shed a tear until the beautiful tweets and blog comments started rolling in today. Here are a selection:
Dear Maggie, I've just read on Girl With A Satchel (via your Twitter feed) that the Good Weekend column is about to come to a full stop. How sad. I love your column, it's one of the first things I read, and I read it aloud to 'my other half' in bed, either on Saturday night or Sunday morning. Regret that I couldn't get one of your book events. I look forward to reading you where and when I can. Ian
@milijana_: nooooo :( what will I have to look forward to on Saturdays :(
@pruereid: I just read the Aust. blog, even sadder now that I realise it wasn't ending by your choice, 3 generations of my family will be too!
@batrock: I actually had one of your columns in either my HSC or trial HSC English exam - I had already read the column so I did pretty well!
@alice_elizabeth: I'm devastated to hear this Maggie. Your Style Notes opened my world to so much more than the small town I lived in as a teenager.
@stolenredbasket: No! This isn't true? I quoted your column for my high-school yearbook 'Whoever said the right pair of shoes can't change your life'
@fashion_hayley: No reason to buy the paper on Saturday's without my favourite column by @MaggieA there to greet me
@jules_stonesoup: it’s the only reason I buy the weekend paper RT @Reemski: @MaggieA end of your column?? WTF??
@BeeDreams: I am gutted that @MaggieA Will no longer grace the pages of the GW- and who gives a shit where she lives? She's great- booooooo to you GW!
So I had a little weep when I read those, but they were such a comfort. Thank you so much. Then I put on a pair of truly fabulous high heels (see photo above) and headed off to my Canberra book event.
One lovely young woman said that she couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t read my column. Then another told me her mother has recently died, aged 93. In her last few months she couldn’t see well and each Saturday she asked for my column to be read to her.
When she died they read one out at the funeral. It was ‘If The Shoe Fits’, which I think is in one of the books. So that set me off welling up again. I think it’s one of the most touching things that has ever happened to me. Another lady brought me a beautiful bunch of roses from her own garden.
I feel very blessed to be so appreciated, but now is the time for the end to my sadness and the seizing of the opportunity. I may be absent from the pages of Good Weekend, but I have no intention of disappearing from your lives. Oh no.
There will be a much improved website (the current one is in limbo) and two more blogs, which I have been planning for some time. Please follow me on Twitter @MaggieA for news on those.
And if anyone out there needs a columnist who comes with thousands of truly gorgeous, bright, funny, stylish readers of all ages and both sexes – gun for hire.
One last thing. If my columns do end up being available only on line, I feel it is an act of apartheid against my loyal readers who aren’t internet attached, which tends to be the older ones.
I have so enjoyed the letters I’ve received from this group – men and women - over the years, so I have a request. If any of you have older rels or friends, would you please print out my column and give it to them each week?
It's been a diverse career. Not many people have written for Allure and (the late-lamented...) Gourmet mag.
I've been a magazine editor, an op ed columnist on a broadsheet newspaper, and for years covered the fashion shows in Paris, Milan etc.
But while I shifted between the worlds of food, fashion and current affairs, there was one overriding passion: books.
Now I write them - five novels published, with another due out this year, and several books of journalism.
Here I write about them.