Ever since I learned that an online version of a candy experiments article had reached readers, I've been waiting for my contributor copies in the mailbox. But when I checked out the latest issue at the library yesterday, the article wasn't inside. Instead of six artistically laid out pages, I had a column and one picture in the table of contents, with instructions for the readers to find the article online.
Online the article looks beautiful, with cute pastel artwork, my photos arranged in balanced collages, and a nice pullout listing experiments. I know that it's reaching readers, because one of them congratulated me. So why am I disappointed?
Because there's something wonderful about pulling the magazine out of the mailbox, flipping it open, and seeing your name. You can carry it inside to read with to your children, or pull it out to show off to patient visitors. You can admire the artwork on the gleaming pages, seeing your article as a new creation with somebody else's design. Because you can hold it in your hand and say "I did this."
Because you can feel, for one brief moment, the weight of your words.