Reading Rights

Magdalena Waz

I think that this week, I might try my hand at telling my loyal readers what is easy for them to consume. Not only will this exercise make it easier for me to speak in terms that are far more grounded than what I was imagining in last week’s column, but it will also allow me to look at the trouble with advertising from the other side – the side I marked as essentially evil last time.
The easiest things for you to consume are free. This is especially true in college when you might not have much extra money. What often happens with me, at least, is that the bulk of films I watch are shown on campus for free.
The bulk of books I read, for that matter, come from the library or are borrowed from friends. My hunt for free things sometimes results in my being exposed to things that are really cool and often unexpectedly so.
Tropos, Lawrence’s student literary journal, is free. It seeks to compile the year’s best student-written or produced fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and art for other people to see.
A literary journal does not work if nobody wants to read the writing of his or her fellow students. Again, we run into the problem of production failing because there is no viable market. But the market should not be difficult to create given the fact that the consumers need not give anything in return for the product – if you disregard the student activity fees we all pay.
While it may perhaps sound crass to speak of a small student group’s artistic endeavors in this way, I’m simply trying to make sense of the indifference I perceive on this campus towards a very important publication.
I’m anticipating your concern. You will tell me, of course, that not all free things are good. It’s true, not all free things are good. Although I do, if you haven’t already noticed, have a certain bias toward Tropos. As a submitter of fiction, review board member and future editor-in-chief, I want you to think that this publication is not only good but also worthwhile.
I don’t know how else to convince you of this except to suggest that you find a copy of Tropos, from any year really, and flip through it. I cannot vouch for the quality, but I feel that reading the publication is in and of itself a noble gesture, and you do want to be noble, don’t you?
There are some very old editions in the CTL, some newer editions tucked into desk drawers in lounges and computer labs. Anything you see printed on those pages has been created by Lawrentians for other Lawrentians.
And even though readership is potentially declining, students are still submitting their work in the hope that someone at some point will read it and maybe enjoy the act of doing so, because writing is almost nothing without an audience. It is my – now-deleted – Xanga. It is that dusty, yellowing copy of The Lawrentian I found under a desk at the radio station.
Please don’t let the efforts of your fellow students go unseen, unheard and unrecognized, and allow me to tell you what you should be reading.