Merry-Go-Round Magazine at Seven


Lucky number seven.

Somehow, Merry-Go-Round Magazine persists. 

I’m certain that no one who was there at the beginning of this roller coaster ride thought it would still be going seven years later, let alone publishing great work from people across the country… but here we are! What started as a passion project among people who went to the same college now has regular contributors in New York and Arizona and Oregon and Virginia. We always joked that we were an independent, online culture magazine based in Los Angeles, but we’ve outgrown that last part, which is great.

My personal mission when taking over as Editor-in-Chief now over two years ago was pretty simple: growing an outlet that could afford opportunities for writers. When I took over, I wrote this:

“Independent media is dying, opportunities for writers are drying up, platforms on which to highlight independent art are vanishing, and even if it’s perhaps slightly presumptive to call us the next Village Voice or Grantland, maybe we should be presumptive? If not us, then who? Sure, we’re a pretty small corner of the internet, but that statement becomes less true every time we publish something on the site—that’s been true for five years and will be true for another five.”

That all remains true. If anything has changed since I wrote that, it’s that people know what Merry-Go-Round Magazine is now, not just because we’ve just been around for longer but because we’ve been a jumping point for a ton of accomplished writers who now contribute to places like Input Magazine or Pitchfork or Paste, to name just a few. MGRM existing as a place where writers can get reps, work with editors, have a reputable byline, and see their name published somewhere that isn’t Letterboxd or Instagram or some personal blog is valuable. I think that now more than ever. 

Thomas and I frequently have conversations about the site and the future. A lot of them, in fairness, are fueled by him telling me we have no money and are on the brink of bankruptcy, but those conversations often end with him saying, confidently, that the time to end the site will come at some point, but it’s not right now. Both he and I’s lives are as chaotic as they’ve ever been, but we figure out a way to get some Bandcamp Picks up every week and publish some game or film takes on occasion. Are we as prolific as we once were? Hell no. I look at the music roundups from four or five years ago and feel exhausted by the sheer number of albums we were reviewing. But as it always has, MGRM is what people make of it; what it is right now is what our editors, writers, and myself have the bandwidth for, and that’s okay. 

So anyway, before my annual rambling comes to a close, I’ll remind you that Merry-Go-Round, while less Los Angeles-based than it once was, IS still an independent online culture magazine, and we do have a Patreon that we’re bad at sending things out for (see: bandwidth). If you like what we do and believe in the mission, consider tossing us two bucks a month. It keeps the site alive and gives some developing writers pocket change for their work and we appreciate that work.

Here’s to the future, whatever that may be! Cheers friends,

— CJ Simonson, Editor-in-Chief

CJ Simonson
CJ Simonson is Merry-Go-Round's Editor-in-Chief and representative for all things Arizona. The only thing he knows for certain is that "I Can Feel The Fire" by Ronnie Wood is the greatest closing credits song never used in a Wes Anderson movie. Get on that, Wes.

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