My Missing Muses

February 17th, 2014


 elephant mag

I went to Barnes & Noble today to look for magic. For years, I would make a monthly visit to buy the new magazines to feed my imagination. I chose from a wide range of genres: home decorating, psychology, fashion, graphic design, art, current affairs and so on. Inevitably I found images or writing that would spark excitement and enthusiasm, and I might even come up with a new idea that suggested itself from something I read. But today, I came up dry. There were titles like NEW YOU, BEAUTIFUL YOU, and NEW BEAUTY all devoted to looking good and feeling good — but mostly looking good. (Making me think, “I look like crap.”) There was plenty of home design porn — 3 local magazines alone on that topic, not to mention all the national ones. (Making me think, “My house looks like crap.”) There were women’s magazines filled with stuff to buy and people to envy rather emulate. (Making me think, “My clothes look like crap.”) But I couldn’t find one magazine that I just had to have. I ended up buying a couple of art publications (Elephant is my new favorite find), New York magazine and something else that I can’t even remember. It’s not that there are too few magazines out there; there are hundreds. But they’re all so mundane or predictable that I wonder how they stay in business. Obviously, I’m not the target market for what’s being published these days, but I’m starved for something I just can’t find on the internet, web and Kindle junkie that I am. I visit plenty of online sites that introduce me to things I’d never have found otherwise, but it doesn’t make print obsolete for me. That magic thing that happens when you turn pages, find startling essays and design, tear out something to save, dog-ear a page to remember. I think it’s similar to how I’d feel if I could only see art online instead of in person. If I had simply viewed the Ai Wei Wei exhibit on a website, for instance, would it have electrified me and moved me to tears the way it did when I wandered through it for several hours? Something is missing and I mourn it.

5 Responses to “My Missing Muses”

  1. Kathy Sumpter says:

    I hear you!!!

    I just read something today (I can’t remember where I read it?) about how women should approach trying to lose weight. There were 25 suggestions and I had to read one of them to my husband who had given me that same advice 22 years ago — “Stop reading those fashion magazines with impossibly thin girls who look perfect — it just makes you feel bad about yourself!” (insert reading home magazines, garden magazines, etc.)

  2. Kim Byer says:

    Speaking of art…I just ran across this collection (online) and immediately thought of you. You may have seen it, but if not, I know it will make you smile.

    Forty Fridas

  3. Veronica says:

    I have the same experience on the Web, clicking and clicking and clicking, searching for what exactly? What am I searching for?

  4. And you have hit on one of the real reasons I only dip my digital toes in Pinterest from time to time. It causes me to have *insert name of thing/vacation* comparison/envy/desire. Perhaps I ought to deal with the root cause rather than avoid the things which provoke my self comparisons. Goddess knows I’ve tried…but still when I see the 28 year old wunderkind woman who is starting a company and turning heads (in more ways than one) I think, “hey, what about me?” But the reality is that I don’t truly want what those others have, because if I did, I would have made different choices, done different things and perhaps ended up someplace else. I think I’ve just not yet completely accepted that where I am in life is where I am. Though I still want to travel extensively, see the United States, and have homes in rustic glory in the mountains/beach/lakes/…can you see why I keep going round in circles…me too.

  5. Sometimes I think we all just have to make our own fun now, outside of the old print venues. Magic might be trying to make a break for it outside of its old boundaries, out into the world, where you might find it any place. It’s up to us to curate it now.

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