What can I say? I miss magazines. Not that there aren’t magazines still around, of course, but there are so few that are worth the trouble of actually looking at. Wired is good, and if you feel like heavy lifting The Economist might do the job, but there’s nothing like, say, Punch, there are only a handful of fiction magazines and you have to dig under rocks just to get to those, etc.
The reason they’re gone, of course, is that people stopped reading them. They were supplanted by radio and TV for a long time, and nowadays the closest thing in the same niche is blogs.
Now mind you, I like blogs. I’m a texty sort of guy and finding a good blog is a joy. I’m not sure yet how blogging fits in to a writerly income, although I’m told there are people who pay their rent with it so I’m eager to learn. And with the advent of the tablet, I can foresee a world where reading comes back into vogue — done in your bed (or comfy chair, or on the bus, in the waiting room at the dentist, etc.) as in the days of old, but with a screen instead of glossy paper.
But I still miss magazines. I miss flipping pages and seeing two-page spreads, I miss finding funky stuff advertised in the back or little bits of light verse tossed into a corner because an article came up 250 words short. Most of all, I miss the sense of the “vetted writer” that magazines created. If somebody gets published (meaning, by someone other than themselves), that instantly says that their work had value in the eyes of the publisher. Not to knock self-publishing — it’s a great way to go if you’ve got the moxie — but it does have to overcome the hurdle of blowing your own trumpet. If you’ve been chosen by a publisher, that means a more objective (and certainly a more profit-oriented) party has looked at your writing and decided that it’s worth taking a risk on, even if it’s the moderately small risk of a single column in a periodic magazine.
I also miss there being a wide and ready market for short fiction. I’d be off like gangbusters if only the pulps were still around! But hey, Benny Goodman wanted to be in a jazz quartet instead of a big band, too. The world is what it is, not what we’d have it be, and one must learn to cope!