Yes On 1: A Literary Proposition

By Shane Solar-Doherty

I’ve got some pretty ridiculous news to spill. The literary magazine, once known for its ability to stimulate and titillate the minds of intellectuals across a vast spectrum of existences, is making its triumphant return into the hearts and conversations of millions and millions and millions and millions of beautiful people just like you.

I see that you’re skeptical. Well. Read this. Read this. Read this and this and this and this (not necessarily in that order). Read these.

Here at TTTR, we’ve not been shy about lauding the importance of exposing more readers and writers to literary magazines. Now, with all this good news, our blood is pumping and our veins are gushing with excitement. That’s right, I said our veins are f’n excited. Imagine how other body parts must feel. Mel and I are getting in on all the hype, pooling what little spending money we have together, and wildin’ out on literary mags, starting with Keyhole Magazine, Paper Darts, and Electric Literature. (More on our choices in posts to come.)

And that plan, to venture out together and put our financially unstable lives on the line for literature, got us thinking: If more of us who care about the current state of literature, but can’t afford to independently shell out the dough for a subscription, found a friend to join us in tapping into our inner fiscally irresponsible teenage selves and splurging on a year-long lit mag subscription, this would be a truly beautiful world. Thus, we have Yes on 1: A Literary Proposition.

Yes on 1, or as Mel and I have been calling it, Yo1, is not meant to be some kind of movement. Yes, it has a horrifically amateur-looking graphic. Yes, it has a badass three-step process. And yes, it’s even got a sweet abbreviation. But all of that is because I had a lot of spare time on my hands. Really, Yo1 is simply an idea to get more readers and writers exposed to contemporary literature. We’ve assembled a visual graphic and three-step process because, honestly, sometimes it’s just easier to grasp and embrace a concept when it’s something you can envision. Think of the tricks you taught yourself in high school math (think of all that time you wasted!) to memorize all those dumb formulas. Yo1 is just like those tricks, and lit mags are the formulas, only lit mags are not dumb. In fact, they’re vital. And that’s the idea we’re trying to spread.

Splitting subscription costs with a friend isn’t an original idea. But it’s a damn good one. You and your bestie save money while supporting a literary magazine and a literary tradition. And yeah, so you might have to hold off on getting that extra PBR on each of the next few Saturday nights. But PBR hangovers suck. Literature doesn’t. So it’s totally worth the sacrifice.

NewPages’ Lit Mag section and Poets & Writers’ Lit Mag and Journal Database are awesome resources to get started on choosing the mag you’re going to subscribe to. Check them out.

If you already subscribe to a lit mag with a friend, tell us one good thing and one really awful thing about that friend’s reading habits. Oh, and also tell us what lit mag you’re subscribed to. And if Yo1 has inspired you to go in on a lit mag subscription with a friend, tell us about yourself, your friend and your mag choice.

Update: Retweet this tweet for a chance to win a copy of Best American Short Stories 2010, signed by Heidi Pitlor, Richard Russo, Steve Almond and Brendan Mathews.

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