You know how sometimes you think you’re enjoying something, then suddenly notice yourself enveloped in hopelessness? Like when you listen to too many Townes Van Zandt records ?
That’s what happened to me recently reading an old Poudre Magazine, but I can’t say why, exactly. Bob Terrill loaned me his October 1982 issue. He wrote for the magazine, and a month after this issue, he would publish a made-up story that people still tell today–although most forget where the story came from. Who wrote it. Or that it was made up. But that’s another post.
Poudre magazine’s mission was to “provide a focus and forum for the arts and entertainment in the Fort Collins area.” Here’s what’s in it.
Page 5. Colorado State’s literary magazine Colorado State Review has just received a private endowment that editors believe will “help insure the magazine against yet another suspension in publication.” The size of the endowment whose interest alone will save the Review? $1000.
I didn’t forget any zeroes.
Page 6. KCSU is no longer governed by the CSU Board of Student Communication. This “frees the station from occasionally whimsical decisions of the student board.” Under a new board, the station goes to an all-classical format. Years later, students would embrace their whimsy, take over KCSU, and turn their college radio station into a college radio station.
Page 7. A cartoon by Bill Amundson. He was the best. I didn’t even need to read the credit to know it was a Bill Amundson.
I couldn’t say that about any local artists today (commercial artists excepted). And it’s not because I think they’re not out there.
Page 8. The new Pulse Dance Experience has opened as “an alternative form of recreation to the bar scene.” There’s a photo of a dark-haired girl in leg warmers sitting in an urban window looking dreamily at the big city outside. Easy to confuse with Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. Only instead of looking out at NYC from a high rise, she’s looking out on Linden Street from the ground floor of Suehiro. But otherwise…
Page 12. A conference report from Boulder, including workshops and panels. In 2009, it would have been on sustainability or an “unconference” about marketing your personal brand. But in 1982 it was beat poetry. Every last living icon of the genre was there: Ginsburg, Burroughs, Carolyn Cassady, Corso, Ferlinghetti. Plus Kesey, Hoffman, Sam Charters. All mostly gone now.
I start thinking, “25 years from now, will I look back at a Social Networking conference (with a special track on Linked In) and think, ‘I am sorry I missed that?’”
Page 17. Bob Terrill spends the night at the Avery House. Alone. Or was he?
Page 20. The Little America story where the dream of a hotel/gas station on the prairie became an empire, complete with its own refineries and oil companies. The author writes, “as it happened to Singer and Carnegie and Sears and Roebuck and Walter Chrysler and James Cash Penny and others who tapped into the American Dream of the widest roads and the sweetest apple pie.”
What’s so depressing about all that? Nothing. Until I return to publications of 2009 where marketing overwhelms content. Where sources are ever “excited!” and everybody and everything is “great” and “really amazing!” Where every play is “a delight!” Where people who aren’t successful call themselves experts–and journalists believe them. Where it seems to be all selling and little talking.
And where writers never, ever get permission to sleep alone in the Avery House anymore.