It ends today.

Back when I made my living as a writer, one corner of my kitchen counter was reserved for a stack of yellowing newspaper and magazine clippings that I absolutely had to get around to doing something with in the near future. Actually, it wasn’t a corner of the counter, it was a three-foot-long space, on a counter about two feet wide. That’s six square feet of clippings, piled anywhere from two to five inches high, depending on the week and the weather. (This was back in New York, where the weather could keep you inside for a week at a time—especially if you were a writer.)

Up to three cubic feet of newsprint. That’s a lot of articles. A few of them I had actually read already, most of them I’d skimmed, and all of them either related to a project I was working on (or, more often, one I was planning, since “working on” rarely got out of the low single digits), had something vaguely to do with a project I might one day actually cook up from a set of equally vaguely related notions and ideas, or were just so singular that I simply had to keep them. Since this practice ended nearly ten years ago, I find it impossible now to bring to mind any of the articles from this last category (other than an Anthony Lane cookbook review that I still have and which I regularly photocopy and hand out to foody friends), but trust me, they were gripping reads. And they were important.

Or so I, on some level, thought. Continue reading