What has really been annoying me in advertising

Dear Poets & Writers,

Please stop pretending that we’re friends.

Please stop pretending that what we shared that one time late at night at our mutual friend’s party was anything other than a drunken hook-up.  You know it, I know it, and I know that you only keep bringing it up because you’re hoping, for the briefest of moments, that my mind will be thrown back to that hormone-laden moment and I’ll think that, Yes, maybe something could have happened then, if I’d only let it, and maybe something will happen now if only I work hard enough, passionately enough, and ignore the evidence before my eyes.

But that’s not going to happen.

The truth is that I’ve had a subscription to you for many years.  You’re the best and easiest way to keep up to date on all the contests and awards and fellowships etc. that I know are coming up, as well as all those I’ve never heard of.  There’s no real risk that I’ll stop subscribing because, well, I’m lazy, and you’re a good resource and, every once in a while, you pull me out of a writerly funk (even as you put me in another one with your endless lists of what I have not read, won, or been published in/by).

The truth is that, as an organization, Poets & Writers does a lot for writers and (dare I say it) poets.  I’ve benefited several times from the grants you give out, and I appreciate — more than I can say — your support of the arts.  Even if you callously choose to separate those who write into writers or poets.

But the truth also is that you’ve been playing me (and perhaps many of your subscribers — it’s okay, I’m not jealous, I knew what sort of relationship I was getting into) (and now, with that aside we’ve lost the rhetorical power of this sentence) — well, you’ve been playing us for fools.

When our subscription nears its end (granted, I started getting these announcements more than four issues ago) you  bombard us with requests to RE-ENLIST!  MORTGAGE YOUR MORTGAGE!  IT’S A DEAL, BUT ONLY FOR RIGHT NOW!  HURRY!

But all that’s a lie.  I’ve kept track.  The deals you spin my way through the mail are couched in the language of love and care, perhaps even with a dash of awareness for being a continuing subscriber, but the truth is (there’s that word again) that the deal you offer is worse than the one you offer online.

Here’s the evidence.  In my hand I have the offer for $5 more, the offer that was mailed to me direct, the offer that, like a love letter from an ex- found just after the break-up, has a bitter taste.

The rub is this: Why not just be honest?  Tell me that you like fresh meat more than leftovers?  Or, and here’s the honorable option, why not just treat us both the same?  Don’t worry, if I see him in the Kroger, I’m not going to start a fight over which one of us you love more.

Because, the truth is, it’s not a problem between us.  It’s a problem with you.  And you need to admit it.


p.s. please find my check enclosed.

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