Sunday, September 1, 2013

R.I.P - Death of a Magazine

Eight years ago, I got a call from an editor asking if I would contribute a regular feature to a new publication he was putting together called Signature Brandywine. Usually an editor you don't know seldom contacts you cold for an assignment (unfortunately), but, in this case, I was at the time also writing a weekly wine column for the magazine's publisher, The NewsJournal daily newspaper in Wilmington, Delaware. So the call wasn't all that unusual. Almost all the publications I write for are national or international, and that's where the most money is to be made, but I have to admit that I have written some of my best articles - generally profiles of artists and artisans - for local magazines, including Signature. In the years since that call in the summer of 2005, I have written dozens of articles for at least three different Signature editors who held the post for more than an issue. Now, that's all over. Signature Brandywine abruptly ceased publication last week coincident with the September 2013 issue. I have two articles in it, one on the new First State National Park and another on some unusual grape varieties grown by local wineries. An article I wrote on a local auto museum and handed in the week before will not be published - at least not in Signature. Even in the magazine heyday of the 1960s - 1990s, publications came and went, so now is not a particular time to be maudlin about the loss of another one. I do feel sorry for the editor. While she will apparently get another assignment within the organization, I know she loved editing Signature and was doing a good job at it. But I feel sorry for myself, too. In addition to the money aspects of writing, most of us writers want - need - a variety of places to express ourselves. It was a dependable forum, and I will miss it.

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