Friday, September 25, 2015
Letter to New York Times Magazine
Dear Editor, New York Times Magazine:
I was taking a little break from shelving books at the library I work at. I make 21 dollars an hour here, which probably seems like an awful lot to you, a simple magazine editor in NYC, but not only do I have a lot of clerking education and experience, things are much more expensive here in Minnesota than out where you live. We don't even have cabs and subways everywhere and thus end up having to have our own cars! So even though I make more money than you, my money does not go as far as yours. Take heart! I'm merely saying that despite probably seeming super rich to you I want you to understand I'm still entitled to a little break now and then. And you'll be happy to know that I used that break from shelving to pop over and read some of your magazine. I read a bit about how Serena Williams is the greatest tennis player maybe ever, and, with her semi-final loss in the U.S. Open fresh in mind, I moved on to a back page interview with Bill Bryson. This was mildly engaging but, more importantly, it gave me an idea.
You're going to love my idea so I hope you'll indulge a little background on it.
Exhausted from writing for a thankless, distasteful Internet, I decided to approach the ancient world of print publications. I started to submit my work to magazine editors like you. Sadly, I quickly encountered a recurring problem; my work, while poorly suited to the Internet, is even more unsuited to magazines. For one thing my work is mostly about me- a subject I oddly cannot seem to find represented in any magazines anywhere. And when I do find a magazine dealing with a subject I occasionally write about, like the Internet, or Bicycling or God, it turns out almost invariably I am satirizing it. And speaking of God, it has become increasingly apparent in all of this that though I have a direct line to god, it is exactly the wrong sort of god! If you know what I mean. And if you do know what I mean you are one seriously good magazine editor. They should totally pay you $21 an hour, and I'm not just trying to butter you up.
Another thing you should know about me is that I have an almost magical inability to sell or convince anyone of anything. So there I am writing the giant magazines of the nation: Catster, Rolling Stone, The Believer, Wired, The New Yorker, and so on, trying to persuade them, needing to persuade them to publish my work that mocks everything they believe in, albeit in a very loving way. And it's hopeless. I quickly became exhausted from this uphill climb. So when I thought about writing you, at New York Times Magazine, a magazine I even kind of like, I could hardly move. I just wanted to go crawl away and sleep forever.
Until I came upon your interview with Bill Bryson!
It isn't the content of the interview that stirred me, although I found it interesting enough. It was the format. That's a perfect format for me. I should be interviewed on your back page. It would be all about me, a subject I excel at. It's the length I generally work at- one page. And it's at the end of the magazine, giving me the last word on things and leaving your readers with a rosy glow. The only small hitch I can see, and it's tiny, is that interviews are usually with famous people. But since one of the main jobs of magazines is telling people who is famous we can easily bluff our way through on that until it's a sort of self fulfilling prophecy, like reality TV or Presidents.
I suspect Bill Bryson didn't interview himself, but with me you get a two for one deal and I'll take care of the whole thing, interviewer and interviewee. I have enclosed a ready to go New York Times Magazine backpage interview at the end of this letter for your consideration. (See tomorrow's post!)
I'm really looking forwarding to reading about myself in your magazine and wish you much luck with your well deserved pay raises.