My sister introduced me to The New Yorker when I was in high school. She read all the articles and I looked at the cartoons.
In my late twenties I got my own subscription to The New Yorker. Mostly, I read the cartoons and the fiction short story in each issue. Sometimes I read the poems. Sometimes.
By my mid thirties I stopped renewing. Of course at that time in history it was easier to stop renewing- you just didn’t send in a check.
Then somewhere in my forties, I decided to subscribe again. By this time The New Yorker had an online subscriber area that does annoying things like send notice after notice after notice- RENEW SOON OR YOUR WORLD WILL FALL APART! This past year I somehow got enrolled into The New Yorker auto renew program, I assume by not un-checking some obscure box on some form I was prompted to fill out after ten notices- COMPLETE THIS FORM OR YOUR WORLD WILL FALL APART! I got an email and a postcard reminding me of my auto renew status (PLEASE UPDATE YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION OR YOUR WORLD WILL FALL APART!) and it took a few emails on my part to get out of the auto renew death grip.
That annoyance of auto renew hell prompted me to reevaluate my subscription. I had The New Yorker stacked up everywhere, mostly unread. I thought about the things I love about The New Yorker– the art and the cartoons. But, in all honesty, I think what kept me subscribing to a magazine I rarely read was the snobbery of it all.
The New Yorker, I thought, was the quintessential magazine for top cartoonists and writers. Get your work in The New Yorker and you’re in baby! You’re top dog. You get a gold star.
So there it was. I admitted to myself that my real reason for subscribing to The New Yorker was my secret wish to be published there. I wanted to be among that hip, talented crew of people good enough to be selected for publication in The New Yorker.
The whole episode was a rather sobering realization for me. There’s nothing wrong about having a fantasy, but it’s stupid to let a fantasy separate you from the real work of achieving a dream. Getting published in The New Yorker was my fantasy, but not my dream. My dream is making comics that I like, that I enjoy, and that I want to share with others. My personal mission is to do the best work I can. That’s it. That’s all of it. That’s my standard.
Once I opened my eyes to this epiphany, my illogical tie to The New Yorker was released. I cancelled my subscription and cleared out all those old issues. I’m living my dream right here, right now. And working on comics every day is far more satisfying than reading The New Yorker. Sorry New Yorker– it’s not you, it’s me. (Your overly persistent magazine subscription service didn’t help either.)
From now on, I’m subscribing to Who Cares. They never send renewal notices. Har har har!
Until next toon,
p.s. I do subscribe to Funny Times. It’s a great monthly newspaper and they still do things the old fashioned way. You can check it out HERE.