We’ve been told that the heart and soul of BLUNTmoms is the editorial team, but the honest truth is that the center of our universe is a woman by the name of Magnolia Ripkin. Magnolia is the Editor in Chief. Our Grand Poobah. She is the mother of the voice of BLUNTmoms, and it is by her standards that we all are judged—even the rest of us editors.
You know that sweet friend you have who, when you tell her about how you’ve been feeling kinda in the dumps lately, furrows her brow with quiet concern and gently strokes your hair? Magnolia Ripkin is not that friend. She’s more the type of friend who slaps you upside the head (proverbially—thank all that’s holy for long-distance), ganks you up by your armpits, stares you right in the eye and says, “DON’T YOU FUCKING DOUBT YOUR AWESOMENESS, WOMAN.”
Or something like that. What she would actually say would be way cooler.
Magnolia’s a harsh mistress, but she’s got the magic touch. We all come crawling back for more. Those who are smart enough to listen, she makes better writers than we could ever be on our own. She lifts us up when we need it. She takes a machete to our verbal diarrhea when we get all wrapped up in the love of our own words. She is merciless on our weaknesses. And if you are being a sissy, she won’t hesitate to tell you so.
Don’t believe us? Here’s what the BLUNTmoms writers have to say:
Brooke: BLUNTmoms gives me the freedom to write like I’m barfing. Wildly painting the page with words that come from deep inside my moist, coiled bowels. I expel it all and then run away.
A thoughtful editor like Magnolia will take that mess, pull the delicious parts out, and make you deal with the nonsensical leftovers. And as a big girl writer with my ego still intact, I take Magnolia’s advice and lead and scurry back to the mess and make it better.
Every writer needs to understand they can be better. They need to listen and appreciate what an editor/mentor’s keen eyes and ears see and hear. And then fix their shit. Make it great. Make it the best. And walk away confident in what they leave behind. It’s still a mess, but it’s a beautiful mess. That’s what having a Magnolia in your life can do.
Olga: Magnolia is the world’s best editor. Her words, while honest, make me strive to become a better writer. Her feedback is invaluable, and if she tells me my post wasn’t good, it really wasn’t good! Instead of getting all wounded and offended (she didn’t like my post!), I suck it up and do better. However, if she’s satisfied with something I wrote and tells me so, it feels like the best thing in the world—because I know it’s true, and I really did do a good job!
Christella: In my welcome-to-the-BLUNTmoms email, she wrote: “Be careful what you wish for… we are a handful (well some of us are, there are a few duds).” She always calls it like she sees it, which is funny.
Kyla: Once, while feeling sorry for myself and wishing I was in my twenties and drunk and being crazy and slutty, she told me this: “As I have come through my forties, I find that I much prefer the company of a tight group of close friends to a bunch of random people. My time is too valuable to invest in people who add nothing to my life.”
Shannon F: Mags (she’s Mags, to me) kicked my ass once (well, once that I’m telling you about). She said, “You are a lone voice sometimes, yes, but a strong one, and right. Lots of people don’t realize how brilliant you are. I do, so I poke you recreationally.” If you know me at all, you know she’s totes crackerjacks: EVERYONE KNOWS HOW BRILLIANT I AM, MAGS. But not everyone knows how ace Mags is because BLUNTmoms hog her. You would too if you got a whiff; she’s DEElicious. She’s like Miss Hannigan from Annie, only more drunk, less singy, more huggable, les— okay she’s actually nothing like Miss Hannigan. Turns out my pop culture references are shit, too, Mags. The point is, you need more of her in your life. She’s like one of those SAD lamps with less SAD more “get out of your head and get the sun on your face and remind yourself to LIVE and WRITE and I love you and stop whining, babycakes.”
She’s the greatest, really.
Sarah K: I always thought having a mother, and then a mother in law was more than I ever could have needed (or wanted), that was until the addition of a den mom to my life. Finally a mom I don’t need to stink eye when given parenting, relationship, or just every day advise. This mom knows best!
Sarah (est. 1975): I first encountered the incomparable Magnolia Ripkin when fellow blogger Anne Radcliffe discovered a pop-culture article I’d published on my blog and engaged me in a funny, flirtatious conversation on Twitter. We were throwing silly pop-culture references back and forth for some time when Anne came up with the great idea of summoning her friend Magnolia to the thread so that the two of us could be introduced.
Magnolia did appear, and in less than ten seconds, she made it crystal clear that she was beyond uninterested in the 80’s-90’s pop culture tone of our conversation. She then went on to diss a couple of my pop culture references, advise the two of us to go off and be “sister-wives” together, and drop completely out of the conversation. I was sure she hated my guts.
I was also intrigued.
A few weeks later I went through the editorial process with Magnolia on my very first piece for BLUNTmoms. And to say she rode me hard and put me away wet is an understatement. But you know what? My piece, which was subpar at best, was immeasurably improved for all of her constructive critiques. And I can honestly say the same for EVERY piece since to which she has applied her wit, cleverness, and common sense. As both an editor and a person, Magnolia says what she means and means what she says, and as that Twitter thread showed me early on in our friendship, she has the rare and valuable instinct to NOT dance around social niceties or pull her punches. I feel lucky to be a part of the BLUNTmoms group and to know the unsinkable Ms. Magnolia Ripkin.
Angila: She told me, “Decide what you want to do and then do the fuck out of it.”
Pam: I called Magnolia one day to tell her I was feeling down. She told me I was far too fabulous to be depressed. It was the Magnolia equivalent of that famous scene from A League of Their Own: “Crying? There’s no crying in baseball!”
Tara: Sending work in to an editor who loves everything is easy, because who doesn’t love a warm hug and a cheerleader? Submitting stories to Magnolia is terrifying. But when she likes your story… you know it’s good. And then you feel like a freakin’ rock star. She encourages us to write our best work, rather than just good enough, because she expects it of us. She expects all women to work hard and demand the best from themselves and for themselves. This is readily apparent in the advice she gives on her blog – useful, empowering, and direct. Stop reading my drivel that she hasn’t edited, and run over and read her blog! Now! Before I tell on you!
Lynn: Magnolia and I worked side-by-virtual-side when we were writing our submissions for I Just Want to Be Alone. We’d each write a draft and then pass it over for review. Turns out that my sweat and tears in trying to write about my weight battles with my husband were the perfect fodder for her piece about marital advice.
A good friend will tell you that you look fine; a great friend will tell you that you are freaking amazing and if your husband doesn’t see that, you should go and screw the pool boy; and the most awesome friend in the universe will put nearly those exact words in print for thousands of people to read.
Kristen: Several of my pieces had already been published on BLUNTmoms before I finally got to work with Magnolia. I knew her reputation and was anxious to see how she would critique me. Magnolia did not disappoint in her assessment of my writing. I’ll never forget how, after one droning sentence, she wrote a single, ego-piercing word: YAWN. (And by the way, she was right.) Later, when I was writing about my father being a pedophile, she was my momma bear. I’m not sure I would have had the courage to hit “publish” on those pieces without her support.
Anne: I make no bones about Magnolia being my mama bear. Even though I’m part of the Editors and head Grammar Nazi, she’s the first person I go to when I need a solid set of eyes on a piece. Time and time again she’s browbeat me for being weak on endings, or helped bring me into focus when I’m feeling ranty. She’s got the gift of vision, and can see past any crap already there to the potential of what you can make your words become.
More than that, she’s a great friend with a wicked, dry, biting sense of humour. Even if I have to explain all my pop culture references.
Julie: Magnolia joined BLUNTmoms as a fresh and virginal blogger. It took me a few weeks of convincing to even get her to join our tribe (and tell me who she REALLY was). Six months in, she took me aside and told me to change everything.
She showed me the gem we had and how we could buff it up to make it amazing. She gave me the courage to make BLUNTmoms authentic, without worrying what people would think of us, and to this day she is still the person who disagrees with me the most, challenges my thinking and pushes my boundaries of thought. I am just fine stepping off the safe road and wandering the dark alleys of BLUNTmoms, but I am a million times more confident doing it with Magnolia by my side and as our Editor-In-Chief.
Why are we telling you all this?
Our dear Magnolia took a hiatus these past few months. We missed her immensely. But we are thrilled to have her back, and now she is gearing back up. She is an unforgettable person and an amazing, intelligent writer. She doesn’t get the views like some bloggers do, and we want to change that.
If you’ve ever wanted to be a BLUNTmom… if you’ve ever wondered how we came to be… Visit her. Talk to her. And, if you have the guts to submit, learn from her.
She is the master.
She can also be found here on BLUNTmoms, the Huffington Post, and in I Just Want to Be Alone.