My husband is off in India right now, doing Something Important. I am, in the meantime, keeping the home fires burning. Literally, at times, as there is no one else to build the fire that keeps us warm on the coldest of New England days. Unless I want to entrust the task to my 5 and 2-year-old sons. Not that they wouldn’t be thrilled to try, but in the interest of (all of us) continuing to live I keep them away from open flames.
Just in time for long, dark evenings by the fire and these weeks without companionship, I organized my magazine collection. A collection that is actually a sort of in memorium, as most of the magazines I possess are copies of publications that have disappeared into the ether, a reminder of the glory days of printed matter, when human beings actually liked their reading to involve a bit of manual labor, the thumb and the forefinger doing the work of the ages, turning page after lovely page. Victoria, Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion (what, you say? yes, it was a charming little magazine), Domino (sob), Blueprint, and — oh the tragedy of it! — House & Garden, which I still can’t believe is gone and would have collected every single issue if I had any inkling that such a monolith could topple. I also save Elle Decor, the occasional Country Living, and House Beautiful. And I would collect and hoard more esoteric titles if budget and space allowed. Particularly World of Interiors, as perfect a magazine as it is possible to create. Maybe WOI should have a scholarship program for enthusiastic Americans?
The best thing about the best magazines is that they are both of the moment — the exact chronological moment in which they were published — and timeless. The reader can pick up a great issue of Vogue, say, from the Diana Vreeland years and glean tons of still-relevant if intimidating information on a life of style. This strange mix of trendy and timeless is what makes magazines, specifically, so compelling, and gives them status apart from publications with a longer gestation period. Like, for instance, that other threatened species, those unwieldy things called books.
Magazines are dead, long live magazines.
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