Narcissism, Not Help, Is What’s On The Menu Here

When I start thinking about why I like this site and what I should do with it in the future and, yes, even crassly how this site can help me sell books, I begin to wonder if I should post more writing advice pieces and post more pieces about Big Issues. I’ve done these in the past and they always perform well and I have no reason to believe they wouldn’t perform well in the future as well.

The problem is I don’t like writing about that stuff more than once in a while. I like writing about my own writing process here and there, but it’s usually a mess and I don’t imagine is that much help to anyone other than a map of what not to do. And I REALLY don’t like writing about Big Issues very often either. They give me panic and anxiety and I just hate it.

I started this blog because I always wanted to be a newspaper columnist. A humorous lifestyle newspaper columnist like Dave Barry or Erma Bombeck. I never had any interest in toppling government or righting wrongs (this is also why I was a sucky newspaper reporter). I wanted to take the mundane aspects of my life and elevate them to star status and compensate for my lack of heavy hitting topics with honesty and vulnerability. And so far, after 12 years, I think it’s mostly worked.

That’s why today, instead of writing about the election, or whatever Big Thing is going on in publishing, or writing a post about how you too can save your book by following my synopsis plan, I’m going to write about the magazines in my bathroom and why I don’t really read magazines anymore.

I used to read magazines all the time. I read high brow, low brow, and everything in between. I had subscriptions to The Writer and Writers Digest and bought any number of other magazines in single issues. These magazines formed the basis of a lot of my early ideas and personality as a writer and were the main sources of my earliest string of successful short story publications and novel attempts. But gradually I stopped buying magazines. I didn’t really stop reading them, I still read a lot of them online, but I stopped buying them in print and I stopped reading them all the way through. I found I was doing most of my reading piecemeal, usually from links I found somewhere from someone else.

Recently though I had a desire to change that. Part of my reading goals for 2016 are to read more non-fiction. Obviously a big chunk of that will be books, but I want to read more complex long-form short non-fiction as well. So I started looking for magazines to subscribe to. I had a bunch of Delta miles I’ll never use, so I decided to use their odd plan to cash them in for magazine subscriptions. I ordered People, Entertainment Weekly, Time, The Atlantic, Money, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated.  I love them all except People, which seems to have turned into a paid version of Parade. Nothing but celebrities and ads for drugs. Blech. It used to have a lot of great stories about real people that I loved. Not anymore and that’s a shame.

But even in print in a nice little basket Becky bought for the bathroom, I still have trouble reading them. My reading time is so limited, it seems like waste to burn through a magazine instead of a book or an episode of a TV show. And if I didn’t get these magazines for free, I likely would never purchase them again. So when these trial subscriptions are up, I suspect I’ll go back to reading my magazine pieces online and maybe I’ll try reading comic books in the bathroom instead.