I heard with dismay that Newsweek magazine had published their last print issue. Dismay and sadness, because I love that magazine, it has been my favorite news magazine for decades.
This morning, the first of January in a year that I wasn’t sure any of us would live to see, I picked up another magazine, Sage Woman. And the first article I read was a journey into beauty and poetry and spirit. “Goddess in the Details” by Alison Leigh Lilly reads like a prayer and moves like wind on the water. It is so beautifully written, so carefully crafted that I read it aloud, to savor every word.
It was an auspicious beginning to a new year, a new life, and sets (I hope) the tone for what this year will mean to me. When I finished reading it, I caressed the slick page of the magazine with affection and thought about the power and the intimacy of print magazines.
When we read something online, it feels as though others are watching—or could be watching. Somewhere is a research engine marking what I am reading today, to better sell me products their model predicts I would want to buy. I am being counted.
And when we write something online, the others are watching then, too. Sympathetic others or critical others or simply others who don’t understand or don’t care. But their presence remains there—out there somewhere in potentiality. It is like reading or writing in a public place.
But this wonderful article in this visually rich magazine with its sleek pages is a private experience—it is mine and mine alone this morning. No one is watching, except perhaps the Divine; the experience is intimate and personal.
I am sorry to hear of the demise of print publications, but I believe there should always be a place for them. Something you can hold in your hand, read by candlelight, that doesn’t need batteries or a USB cord. A solid object with words of delight nestled between pages of real paper, printed with real ink, tangible, touchable and concrete, yet close and private as a prayer.
I probably won’t be reading Newsweek any more. I won’t think about it unless someone sends me a link or comments on Facebook about it. I won’t find it at the newsstand or in the doctor’s office, so it is likely that Newsweek will become a memory for me, a nostalgic thing like milk delivery or newspaper boys. But I am grateful to the publishers who still think writing worth reading is writing worth the cost of the paper it is printed upon. Thank you, Anne and Alison.