Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Gave Away a Decade's Worth of "Poets and Writers"

For years, I've subscribed to Poets and Writers. Long ago, before the Internet became such a useful tool, P & W was a great way to find out which publications were looking for what kind of writing. I enjoyed the articles too. Again, this was before I read so many of these articles that they began to have a sameness about them.

I've decided that as my magazine subscriptions come to an end, I may not renew them. I may change my mind as I get closer to time, but it will be easy for me to let some magazines slip away. There are many, MANY spots on the Internet that fill the same information gap that I used to need those magazines to fill.

On Tuesday, I contemplated the issue of back issues. Since a P & W subscription isn't cheap, I've kept back issues. I envisioned a time that I would go back and savor them. Or maybe I thought that some day I'd have an academic job that involved only creative writing, and I'd have plenty of resources.

And as they piled up, it became harder to decide what to do, as they kept taking up valuable book shelf real estate. And after a decade of keeping them and never--NEVER--looking at back issues, it seemed more and more stupid to keep them.

So, on Tuesday, I decided to give them away. I thought about asking for money, but decided I just wanted to pass them along. When I was a younger writer, if I could have gotten such a treasure trove for free--how much that would have meant to me.

I left it in my husband's capable hands. He does quite well with E-Bay and Craig's List. And now, they're gone. Some part of me wonders if I've made a terrible mistake, but the larger part of me feels relief. I hang on to so much stuff, partly because of the money I spent, but mostly because I hope it will be useful some day. I try to let go of more of it, especially if I think it can be useful to somebody else, today, right now.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Looking back through your posts...yes, I used to subscribe to a number of magazines and now I don't subscribe to any. The internet has changed all of those reading patterns, as well as making me question the editorial decisions of even such former favorites like "The New Yorker." Our recent move to Montreal has forced me, too, to let a lot of things go that I'd saved, and by and large, it feels great, especially when they find a new home with someone who will appreciate and use them. Makes me realize the time for that was overdue.