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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, February 14, 2004
    From prayer to pulp
    I bade farewell to thirty months worth of magazines today. Took two car-loads to the recycling bins. It was some effort, more emotional than physical. Had to harden my resolve, clear the decks, be indiscriminate about what I threw away. Only once every three or four years can I bring myself to do this. Usually because I'm moving on. If I ever stay longer anywhere I'll end up living in a sea of newsprint. I love my mags so much it hurts to let them go.

    Today, I hesitated at the edge of the recycle bin, my hand hovering hesitantly over an edition of colors magazine which I'd really enjoyed. The one on prayer. I could have justified keeping that on the grounds of potential sermon material. But then I could have used the same justification for any of the mags I trashed today: Resurgence and When Saturday Comes, Amnesty and Orbit; the journals of LGCM, CCJ, CAP, CPAG, CAAT; New Left Review, Le Monde Diplomatique, Mute, The Ecologist, Mojo. But, aware that I had an audience, as people do at recycling places, other recyclists sussing me out, I resisted the embarrassment of a last-minute retrieval and let it go, with all the others.

    Actually, I think the terrible task was made slightly easier this time around because there's so much on the web now, archive material which makes my hoarding habit less necessary. Colors has a very good website archive with many pages covering the more recent issues. Not the prayer issue, though. The highlights consigned to my memory, it's gone to pulp now.

    From prayer to pulp. Pretty much describes my state of mind at this time of welcome but unsettling change.