Time is money, they say. Time flies. Time is of the essence. The list of time-related idioms could go on endlessly. That is because everyone struggles with time and needs excuses not do be doing the thing they really want to.
Until very recently, we were working as editors for a political magazine, which didn’t consume our every minute but took such a bite out of our day that the time for side-projects seemed scarce. Or maybe we were just putting new ideas aside, waiting for the right time to come. Can you blame us? Spending eight hours bathing in the dim light of a computer screen, editing articles and looking for spelling mistakes makes you a little fed up with the job — regardless of how much you love it.
So free time was reserved for activities that did not include missing commas or arguing over the use of adjectives in headlines. After work, we would often go to a bar around the corner, treat ourselves to a beer or two, chatting about things we had read or stories we had heard. Stories of megalomaniac experiments, weird cultural rituals in foreign places we could hardly pronounce, or any other bemusing and fascinating tales we had come across.
Then, on a summer afternoon this year, the magazine suddenly went bust, closed its doors and shoved out all employees. Time became free time. The excuses for postponing side-projects were gone.
There was no doubt that we wanted to keep publishing. This time, it would be our own magazine, one we could not just set up and run, but that would offer us the space to explore topics that had seemed at odds with a political publication.
We decided to create a magazine that feels like those conversations we used to have after work: Full of stories that straddle the line between the obscure and the relevant. You see, stories have a way of their own: We experience them, tell them, hear them, recount them, spread them, document them, forget them, re-discover them.
They end up transcending the people who experienced them in the first place and become our common property. Stories are usually ephemeral yet timeless; private yet shared; true yet imaginary; about us; about you.
Those stories matter because they tell us something about the lives we lead, the world we lead them in and what can happen at the intersection of chance and plans.
They are the fabric of life. Scratch that. They are life.
To bring them to you, we have decided on a method both tried and true: Each month, we sit down to agree on a new topic, make a list of ideas revolving around it, and write down the stories it spawns.
Sometimes they are things we have heard somewhere, sometimes we discover them in conversation. Occasionally, we ask other writers to share their ideas with us or we go out and talk to people who have experienced a particular thing befitting our theme.
We are trying to keep this process deliberately open: Ideas can take the form of articles or interviews, photos or playlists. Basically anything that makes us curious for more and that we would otherwise have shared with friends.
There is a time and a place for everything, they say. The time to launch that magazine is now. The place is here: The Idea List.