I subscribe to WAY too many magazines. When some hit my mailbox, I will trample everything in my path to read them: Country Gardens and Organic Gardening are the biggest culprits. They are the glossy, professionally-bound crack of my magazine world. I devour them in an hour, drooling over the lush garden photos, dog-earing pages I wish to revisit, dreaming of the day when the pages will be scratch-and-sniff. Because somewhere along the line, my gardening gene became activated and now there’s no stopping me and my filthy trowel. (Unless I have a baby, and then it’ll be like compost-schmompost. Mom, don’t get all excited.)
When other magazines arrive, I place them on my kitchen table for temporary holding while I mentally map my plan-of-attack. Will I read them during an upcoming two-hour car ride? Keep them in the bathroom to give guests the impression that I’m more interesting than I actually am? Parcel out the reading in easy-to-digest nightly morsels? Usually, I adopt a combo-approach for the more article-heavy players: Rolling Stone, Utne Reader, Mother Jones, Newsweek, Vegetarian Times, Wisconsin Trails. Through the years, Self, Fitness, Shape, and Glamour have also graced my doorstep … and then there are those that arrive because I donated to one group or another: OnEarth, Sierra, The Nature Conservancy magazine, Audubon.
I know what you’re thinking. Is this chick like, president of the Dennis Kucinich fan club or something? But here’s the thing: I don’t even LIKE the smell of patchouli, and tie-dye patterns give me a headache.
Anyway, we used to get Entertainment Weekly too, but it got to be too much. I simply CAN’T watch all of the recommended television or movies, CAN’T read all of the reviewed books, or I’d have to eliminate something else from my schedule, like reading the rest of my magazines.
And then there are the magazines that strike fear deep in my heart upon arrival. These are the magazines you’d think I’d dive into first—the writing mags. Somewhere along the line, reading Poets & Writers, The Writer, and Writer’s Digest became a little like exercising. I know it’s good for me, but I’ll do anything—scrub toilets, organize my sock drawer, run for mayor of a mid-sized city—to put them off just a little longer.
I think I know why this occurs. It usually happens when my day job is at its most demanding. It’s painful to read about something I’d rather be doing right at that very moment. Also, I like to study the articles contained within; you need to concentrate to do this, and this is hard because at times, my brain enjoys impersonating a hot air balloon floating over Burning Man.
Or maybe it’s a left-brain / right-brain thing. I like writing, but reading about the logistics of writing and promotion can feel like studying for a test. But it’s a very important test. So I’ll never cancel my subscriptions. Plus, if I didn’t get Writer’s Digest, how would I have discovered this entertaining fellow?