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Tuesday, March 25, 2008


The other night, Mrs. Gruff said to me, "Would you like a subscription to McSweeney's?" In our darkened room, her face glowed from laptop light.

"McWhat?" I said, patting Baby Gruff's back. He burped.

"McSweeney's. It's a quarterly magazine. Some guy online was looking for a gift for his writer friend, and some other people recommended it," she said.

A few minutes later, after I had Baby Gruff settled down to sleep, I laid down on the bed with her and began reading about McSweeney's Quarterly Concern.

The descriptions of the quarterly's contents were strange and compelling. Each issue had its own unique design and format, as illustrated by the McSweeney's website: "One issue came in a box, one was Icelandic, and one looks like a pile of mail." They touted their content, from "experimental" stories, to stories by famous authors, as well as journalism and art. I felt compelled to click the "subscribe" button, but Mrs. Gruff, ever the pragmatic one, said, "Let's browse around a little more first."

I'd been in a bit of a funk about writing lately, but this little event snapped me out of it. Browsing the website and reading about the mix of the odd and experimental excited me. Part of it was the thrill of the purchase (ah, the high of spending money). However, the larger part of my excitement was seeing new, fresh, different ideas. It was the thrill of exploration. New environments of the mind opened before me when I glimpsed inside these covers, even though I viewed them with my imaginary eye, peering through a distance of internet and summary.

Well, as my internal narrator composed the flowery prose above, we settled on a purchase. We decided to buy McSweeney's latest four issues in a bundle, their "Instant Gratification Subscription." They're selling it at a deeply discounted $25, a nice cheap way to "try before we buy" the $55 annual subscription. The bundle is in the mail now. I'll let you know what I think of it soon.


Chris, The Book Swede said...

This sounds very interesting! Weird, but interesting. Looking forward to what you think.

Incidentally, pleased to see you linking to Pharyngula -- good blog! Not sure if you're interested, but a blog called SGU Rogue's Gallery is excellent, and every day is a different scheduled guest post. It's interesting and often funny.


Joel said...

Chris, thanks for pointing us to the SGU Rogue's Gallery blog. I've been reading it the past couple days, and I've liked what I've seen.

I received my McSweeney's bundle just yesterday, and I've been going through it. I'm sure I'll get a post up about it soon.

Mister Troll said...

Chris -

Actually, I'm the resident bridge-dwelling scientist on this blog. I'll check out the SGU gallery some time.

- Mister Troll