My husband is an avid reader. We both are. But we read very different things. He loves newspapers, news magazines, history books, biographies, historical fiction, etc.
I mostly read scripts. Well at least that’s what I read for over half my life. When I am not reading scripts, I mostly read memoirs. I like stories about the human condition. People. First person. Life. That’s what interests me, which is probably why I write this blog. In first person. About life. Mostly my life. But just life.
I am also obsessed with anything health related. Science about nutrition. Science about the brain. Science about nutrition and the brain. The brain/body connection. You get it. It’s the leftover “wanna-be” doctor in me. But I digress.
My husband has been a long subscriber of The Economist and TIME magazine. “The Economist” is like a foreign language to me. I have tried to read it, but my brain just isn’t wired that way. He reads it every week, cover to cover. Often he will read me headlines, statistics, and other factoids. I really, really try to be interested and absorb what he is telling me. I know it's good for me... in the same way we try to get our kids to eat vegetables.
TIME, on the other hand, is slightly less of a mind-bender. I don’t love it either, but usually there is a cover story that catches my attention. Invariably, I will read an article or two, but then find myself annoyed that the articles are ultimately unsatisfying or contradictory from articles I have read in prior issues.
But there is one section in TIME that I have consistently loved over the years. At the end of the magazine, there is a columnist named Joel Stein who just writes about “stuff” (in the first person). I love his writing voice. I love that he always makes me giggle. I love that he is self-deprecating and feels like someone I would want to sit down and have a drink with. I love that he is a complete departure from the rest of the magazine.
But this week, Joel Stein wrote a “goodbye letter.” Joel Stein is leaving TIME? Why? This doesn’t make any sense. Aside from the magazine covers, he’s the best part of the magazine (in my humble opinion). Joel Stein is one of those writers who inspires me to write. About stuff. In the first person.
So losing his column in TIME feels like a personal assault on my taste. I am truly offended. I want a recount. I want to get him his job back. I want to keep reading Joel Stein, because we need more people who write about “stuff,” because sometimes the news is simply too much. Sometimes the world is simply too much. Sometimes my brain can’t take any more information on famine, and war, and poverty, and nuclear threats. Sometimes I just need to smile, and laugh, and feel like someone is writing to me. About stuff… in the first person.
So I am sending TIME magazine this letter. This is unacceptable. I am an aspiring writer and I need inspiration. Joel Stein inspires me to keep writing. So I need him to keep writing.