My younger self would be appalled to learn the truth.
That I, at the ripe age of 29, have completely failed to keep up with my magazines.
I grew up reading magazines. Reading them. Page to page, advertisements, little text boxes, every page of the articles. I devoured them.
I remember starting off with Redbook. Then Vanity Fair. Elle. Vogue. Good Housekeeping. People. T Magazine. W. National Geograpic. Forbes. The New Yorker.
I read my parents’ magazines when they were done skimming them. My brother had a subscription to National Geographic kids, and then Dad had National Geographic.
But once I started reading Elle, Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmo, W….I was hooked on the advertisements. I kept my magazines. At one point, I had a bookshelf full of every Vogue and Elle for 10 years.
Then I realized I needed to pare down. “Who keeps old magazines?” I thought.
So I sat down one week with a trash can, scissors, and my stacks of magazines.
And I went through them, one by one, page by page. It was during a phase of my teenagehood where I was slightly hyper-focused on random things, so I got through it surprisingly quickly. I cut out every advertisement, outfit, and headline phrases that appealed to me.
Then I kept going. Every magazine I got my hands on, I clipped for some unknown compulsion to store these beautiful images and ideas. I even clipped things from the Delia’s catalogue…
So eventually, when you cut things out, you wind up needing to put them somewhere. I organized my little treasures into collections and categories. The full page ads went in one shoebox, the words in another, then celebrities sorted by blonde, brunette, and other. The non-person items were sorted into their own bo.
I couldn’t bring myself to do anything with them, for a long time. Then finally I went through and started using them for collages on random things, like the side of my little computer desk in my room. Or bedazzling my trash can with images of jewels – “One man’s trash is another’s treasure”, I chuckled wittily.
Then, last year…I cleared out my office/storage room for my baby child. All those boxes of images and words have moved with me from house to house, year after year. I occasionally add new things, but not half as much as I used to.
And I couldn’t do it. Could not part with them. So I have the boxes stacked in the closet, the binders full of images in the guest room bookshelf. And I still find myself dog-earing pages of magazines occasionally, or tearing out sheets that I will probably just wind up tossing away.
“I can do something with these,” I think occasionally. The Guess campaigns, the Etro spreads, the Ralph Lauren photo spreads. Or maybe I can use the headlines and phrases for inspiration to write novels or blogs.
Or maybe, some day, my daughter will rummage through the boxes and use them for her own sheer joy. Maybe I can sacrifice them for art projects and crafts. Maybe.
I think, perhaps, they represent some lost dreams and hopes, the ability to waste hours and days on these beautiful images and imagining the lifestyles I could live in them myself.
But for now, I’m content to hide my little treasures away in the closet…