I am a lover of magazines; always have been, since the age of thirteen. I remember it like it was yesterday. Teen Magazine caught my eye at a grocery store. I picked it up, flipped through it and begged my mom to buy it for me. When I got home, I read the entire thing–cover to cover. I was enthralled. I requested that my mom buy me a subscription immediately. She obliged. Hey, what can I say–my mom is great. This marked a real turning point for me, one of no return. No newspapers, no books. Magazines became my thing.
I was a faithful reader of Teen Magazine for five years. That’s like a millennium to a teenager, but I loved it. Over the years, I’ve thought about why I chose that mag and I think I know the answer. First, it was geared towards girls like me, young girls, girls going through things. Real things. I could spend one hour a month reading about other teen’s lives, about ways to change the world for the better and about music. Teen Magazine was like a guide for my teenage life and it was written in an intelligent and respectful way. Unfortunately, after a few years, as with all things, it began to deteriorate. The articles became less informative, the advertisements got larger and I just wasn’t into it anymore. Perhaps it had something to do with my subtle aging, but I digress. It was time to move on. I needed something a little more on my level.
I moved on to the sophisticated YM, Lucky and Cosmo. Hey, don’t mock. I had to try out every magazine on the stands to find the right one. But the truth is, those magazines weren’t me.
Nothing changed me quite so much as my early twenties. I was becoming more aware of who I was without my parents, teachers or friend chiming in. This was when I started to get into zines and literary mags. I even created two of my own.
A few years after that, I went back to consumer pubs. I was reading Martha Stewart, Domino and Real Simple. Domestication reared its ugly head, but I knew deep down it wouldn’t be enough. Those magazines didn’t fill my soul. I needed a magazine with style, pizazz, something with projects, one that was home to a good short story, one that had health and make-up tips, reviewed new books and music and most importantly one that featured great articles about real issues affecting women my age. I was searching for a Teen Magazine for twenty-year-old’s. Now where was I supposed to find a magazine like that?
It took me a while to realize, I was never going to find it because it just didn’t exist. I had to subscribe to many magazines just to get my fill. And now that I’m in my thirties, I find myself still searching for that thirty-something Teen Magazine. Seriously, does the search ever end?
I currently subscribe to six consumer magazines a year. It may seem like a lot, but those magazines are secondary to the amount of books, albums and literary magazines I purchase annually. In addition, I realize many people don’t read magazines and I never understood that. Not because there isn’t plenty to read elsewhere, but because magazines are cultural mirrors. They are about us–right here, right now.
If you’re into magazines as much as I am, come and support the Chicago literary community tonight at the Printers’ Ball.
According to the Poetry Foundations Web Site, “It’s a celebration of literary culture. In addition to featuring thousands of magazines, books, broadsides and other takeaways, the Printers’ Ball will showcase live readings, music and performances. They will also host letterpress, offset, silk-screening, rubber-stamping and paper-making demonstrations.”
To learn more about the 2010 Printers’ Ball, please visit their site.