An Open Letter to Architectural Digest…
Dear Architectural Digest:
It is with sorrow in my heart that I write to you today. I feel so spineless, but I just don’t think I have the fortitude to do this face to face and do not trust my resolve to see it through. I need to tell you that I think it’s time we ended our relationship.
It’s not that I am ungrateful for all the things I’ve learned from you such as, employing stylish hats as three-dimensional wall art, making a statement with fresh fruit or four ways to style the perfect fireplace mantel. I don’t have a fireplace and the decorations just didn’t look the same on my heater vent, but the point is, you tried. Even though I am somewhat of a Midwest bumpkin, you always believed in me, that I too, could live the life of the cultured and sophisticated. I owe every vintage trunk, every faux finish, every ladder used as storage to your gentle, polished guidance.
Reflecting on how it all began, so many subscription cycles ago I feel melancholy now. I was lost living in my vapid state, searching for something to cure my uninspired soul. I was drifting, longing, wandering the thrift stores, searching for something to cure my decorating languor, to inspire me not only to enjoy life, but cleave to it and hang on tight, like the ivy clinging to the facade of a sophisticated Manhattan Brownstone, where gray linen walls glinting with barely- there metallic highlights tower over slipper chairs dripping with tassels.
I still remember that day in T J Maxx as I aimlessly roamed the aisles attempting to redress my, seemingly chronic, dark mood with yet another shopping spree. There you sat, on the clearance rack, like a shining beacon of hope, and at an affordable price too. I felt as though the clouds had parted just for me and I was once again in the warm light of the sun after being held captive in a dungeon of blue funk. I was so wide-eyed then, like a babe in the woods. I began to make plans for our future together straight away, our Mid Century-inspired airy and sunlit interiors, our late night dinner parties with the creative set, our color coordinated bed linens. Yes, I reveled in the warmth of this summer that I thought would never end. You would have thought, living here in the Midwest, that I would have known about the winter that always follows.
I can’t recall a specific moment when the tide turned, but one day I could no longer bear looking at the stately homes of celebrities from the ramshackle confines of my tiny deteriorating hovel. I no longer derived joy from scavenging flea markets for gutsy antiques, searching for that opulent Victorian table or religious folk objects from Asia. I only know that at some point this winter while lying on my bed looking up at the hole in the ceiling where the plaster had fallen off and contemplating various ways to keep the dishwasher door shut now that the hinge has rusted off, the thought suddenly struck me and I said, “Enough.”
I could no longer pretend that I would ever spend time at a Rocky Mountain retreat sparely, but poetically outfitted with bold works by Anselm Kiefer, that I could ever be a guest at one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants or that you I would ever have anything in common.
So no more pouring over photos of Anderson Cooper’s Brazilian Paradise. No more thoughts of covering my walls in Holland Flamestitch velvet, or dreams of traveling the world picking up various textiles to have sewn into throw pillows for my sofa.
I hate to say that final goodbye, which is undoubtedly how I ended up with a subscription, and every time the renewal notice came I just automatically sent in the payment even after I knew it was hopeless. You might surmise that I’ve found another magazine to serve my decorating needs, or that I’ve been having an affair with the likes of Elle Decor, or that I’m getting to big for my britches. Nothing could be further from the truth which is, somewhere deep inside my heart I have always known I’m not good enough for you. I’m the Before photo in your Malibu beachfront remodel. I’m the claw foot tub — but without the claws. And while I will grow old and weather-beaten in my Early American shanty, you will remain sophisticated and cultured, making bold statements and pulling off elegant makeovers.
Farewell, my temporary fling. Know that even though you are headed for my recycling bin, you
will remain forever in my heart.