The Great Magazine Purge of 2012

I have mentioned recently that I’m doing a bit of depackratting.

One of the things I am getting rid of to free some (small) amount of space in my office (and other environs) is old magazines. I’ve held onto some magazines for a long time for various reasons, and to be honest some of the reasons are a bit unclear. So I’ve decided to bundle them off to donate to a local church garage sale. I’m deNogglesteading the following magazines:

The magazines to be banished

  • I have received Writers Digest off and on for 25 years, ever since my mother got me a subscription as a gift when I was in high school. As such, the address labels I’ve removed from them span most of the places I’ve lived in my lifetime. I’ve saved them mostly because I thought the markets section within them would be useful, but off and on through the decades I’ve bought the annual Writers Market anyway. Still, I stuck them in boxes and later in magazine boxes on a shelf in my closet.
  • Birds and Blooms I’ve only received for a couple years, since I lived in Old Trees. They’re an easy magazine to flip through, and yet they have some good tips for gardening within. I saved most of them either for the pictures that I could cut out for crafts or for hints I could refer back to (but never did). Out they go.
  • I subscribed to Writers’ Journal for a couple years after it published a couple of my articles. It’s my favorite writing magazine, not so much because they published me, but because it’s a less glossy magazine than the other two and because it mixes in some fiction and poetry with its how-to articles.
  • I also subscribed to The Writer for a while. It’s a bit of a forgotten entity to me, since it falls between the other two writing magazines. Of course, if they publish something by me, my estimation is subject to re-evaluation.
  • I subscribed to the Utne Reader for a year or two in the middle 1990s, right out of college, when I thought I was going to be a writer for the slicks, engaging in those heady topics. Of course, I was even then a latent conservative, so I was never destined to fit in, and I didn’t move to the east coast to be in the right spot. Still, I moved this particular bunch of magazines with me from my mother’s basement in Lemay to my current domicile. And I’ve never re-opened them.
  • I subscribed to St. Louis magazine (and still have some issues to the subscription, I think) and still subscribe to its Springfield equivalent, 417. For a while, I stuffed them into the closet, expecting I’d look back to them for ideas for things to do or restaurants to visit. Strangely, that information dates quickly. I’ve since started leaving those magazines behind at the YMCA for others to read while pedaling.
  • I’ve got a stack of one-off magazines I didn’t subscribe to and bought from the newsstand. I saved a bunch of them as sample issues of places I’d like to submit items or send review copies of John Donnelly’s Gold. But they’re just taking up space, really.
  • I also subscribed to St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles for a while. Apparently, I only kept a couple issues. I don’t know why.
  • I also had a stack of literary magazines that I bought whenever I was in the mood to think I was going to write short literary fiction. In the stack, we have some American Short Fiction, some of The Quarterly, and other one-off purchases. I never did become a leading literary luminary, but not for lack of alliteration.
  • Beer magazine, which had a strange publication schedule. I think I subscribed for two years, and it took more than two years for them to fulfill the subscription. I received some here at Nogglestead, and I haven’t resubscribed in a long time.
  • Readers Digest. Apparently, I wanted to be like every grandparent’s house in our generation, with a stack of old Readers Digests to read on rainy days. Except in those days, the content of the magazine was different, and its varied stories from other magazines made it a better re-read than the current more currently focused magazine material.

From my stash, I did not dispose of collectible magazines, such as 1960s-era Newsweeks with Reagan on the cover or old magazines with Stephen King short stories in them. I also saved all of the old microcomputer magazines I owned and the runs of Compute!’s Gazette, Run, and Commodore magazines I own.

In the living room, hidden in a trunk, I stored magazines that I have not yet read. Which includes a pile of magazines I will never read:

The unread magazines to be banished

These are a backlog of magazines that I didn’t get to read and then hid away. In many cases, I’ve moved these magazines twice.

  • Another stack of St. Louis magazines. For a while, I didn’t have time to browse this magazine. Probably before I moved from Old Trees and joined the YMCA. I’ve moved them once in that trunk.
  • A couple issues of Forbes and a couple more of Fortune. The Fortune was Time-Warner’s replacement when they axed Business 2.0, which I would not have subscribed to if I’d known it was Time-Warner. I don’t like their magazine and related products sales tactics to the point that I don’t order their magazines at all..
  • A couple issues of Ducks Unlimited. I got it with my Ducks Unlimited membership, which I kept up with for a while not because I hunt ducks, but because my father did. I think DU does some good work for the wetlands, and it’s not a government entity doing that good work.
  • A stack of technical magazines, including a few from free subscriptions (Information Week, Eweek, and the former Software Test and Performance) as well as some from professional organizations I used to belong to (ASQ and STC).
  • The Atlantic Monthly and Harpers. I’d subscribed to these magazines for almost a decade, from the time I was in college to somewhere around 2004 when the subscriptions ran out. I didn’t keep up with them too well because I liked to read them cover to cover, but sometime around the end of the century, Harpers got to political for my taste. After Michael Kelly died while embedded in Iraq, the Atlantic Monthly followed suit, and the magazines of big ideas devolved into the magazines of Republicans are dumb and bad. Like a lot of magazines. I held onto them because I thought I might want to read them cover to cover someday, but I realize now after moving them from Casinoport to Old Trees to Nogglestead that I probably won’t. My current magazine subscriptions and the news stand gleanings fill my magazine reading time more than effectively.
  • More Writers Digest and The Writer. No doubt containing the individual markets that would have bought my work if I’d only known about them.
  • More Readers Digest. Since it’s so browseable, I’m surprised I got behind on it.
  • Some old NRA and National Review magazines. It’s the political magazine, so all the outrage within is dated. But probably still relevant.
  • A collection of one-offs, probably the tail end or single unread issue from lingering subscriptions. I see a Capper’s in there. Cappers lost a lot of charm for me when it went from a paper tabloid to a glossy. It made it a lot like a lot of other magazines out there.

Did I save any from the trunk? Well, yes. Unread copies of Beer, History Magazine, Renaissance, and a collection of science fiction/fantasy magazines. These things contain timeless information, well, except Beer, and I still think I might read them sometime in the future.

They’re all in boxes, awaiting a trip to the garage sale collection point. I’ve read places that unloading the things you hoard gives you a sense of freedom. To be honest, I didn’t experience that. Even though I know I’ll probably not crack these open again should I keep them, I’m still a little melancholy to let them go. They remind me of eras in my life, and there are so few people who do that the little physical reminders are all I have.

As a side note, my beautiful wife said it was a shame to get rid of these things and told me it was okay if I wanted to keep them to keep them. I decided not to, though.

As a result, I have very little extra free space, actually. But I suppose I can use that space, mostly in hidden areas like my office closet and the trunk upstairs, to store other things and reduce the general clutter in my office. Maybe somehow indirectly that will brighten my daily interactions with my office. I dunno. This whole reducing possessions business is very strange to me.

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