Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

August 11, 2013

Feeding a hungry appetite for reading

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

ASHLAND — I’ve been called “The Newspaper Lady” since I began working in the industry. It’s a title I bear with pride, as someone whose passion and means of living comes from writing.

I do love newspapers — the smell, the feel of the paper and the ink, which invariably always makes its way onto your hands. There are stacks of papers littering my desk at work and threatening to slide from the shelves of my office at home. They are framed on my walls and fill the pages of my scrapbooks.

Wherever my travels take me, I always keep an eye out for the local press. Whether I can read the language or not, a newspaper is always coming home in my suitcase. I often wrap gifts in colorful comics or a feature article I have written.

But I have another, more secret, print addiction. One that only my husband and our mailman are fully aware of: I am a full-fledged magazine junkie.

My mornings are dominated by newspaper headlines. I drink in national daily editions at breakfast and the regional ones over my coffee at the office.

But by lunchtime my voracious reading appetite has begun to hunger for something different. I begin to crave the exhilaration of carefully crafted slick and glossy pages.

When I arrive home for lunch, I head to the mail chute immediately, holding my breath in anticipation of what surprise new edition is waiting at the bottom of it for me.

 Local, travel, fashion, political, cooking, trade, gardening and gossip. I have subscriptions to them all.

In bad weather, I am especially anxious to retrieve the day’s offering before the edges have gotten wet or wavy. Nothing is more heartbreaking then an edition that has been haphazardly stuffed into the slot, crimping or irreparably creasing the cover.

The perfectly designed pages of magazines are a highly addicting form of escapism. After inspecting and admiring the cover, I always begin reading from the back page. I know I’m not alone here. I learned in journalism school that almost half of magazine readers do the same thing…  

Over lunch, I lose myself in the short stories and department staples. I save the longer articles and features for dessert, often curling up on the couch to read them, wrapped in a blanket and barefoot.

When the clock signals it is time to return to the daily grind of the newsroom, I force myself away. At that time the gossip, news and trade publications often find their way into the recycling bin. The gardening, women’s and travel publications get stacked on the coffee table. These are saved for further savoring.

 As a teenager, I would pull out advertisements to decorate my room and spent hours snipping out colorful words to decorate my journals and to use for collage poetry. I remember collecting the black and white ads of a perfume campaign as a silly, wistful teenage girl. The beautiful airbrushed couple was my vision then of true love.

Now I mine magazines for recipes, witty cartoons, and snippets of advice to ponder. I collect ideas for my own work and pull out articles to send to my mother. I dog-ear pages with purses and coats I want to purchase. I bookmark the features on places I want to visit and the restaurants to track down when I get there.

When my stacks become unwieldy I am forced, often at my husband's gentle but insistent urging, to purge my collection. I can agonize for hours about throwing the most beautiful ones away or being unable to find that one edition with a certain article I wanted to save.

Then the brass cover of the mail slot chimes and a new cellophane-wrapped periodical swishes onto the floor and catches my eye.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.