My Dearest Readymade,
I am afraid that our near decade-long romance ends here. When we met back in 2002 at checkout stand no. 7 of The Berkeley Bowl, I found your charms irresistible. Unlike Punk Planet and those other hip, low circulation periodicals that you sat amongst (and that I read feverishly at the store but never purchased), you possessed a certain je ne sais quoi that compelled me to take you home with me month after month. Was it the fact that you took your name from a Duchamp-coined word, or that you were published in Berkeley by two women entrepreneurs, or that I discovered amidst your stylish pages a heady and original mix of DIY projects that I (or my more evolved friends) could recreate after a quick trip to the local recyclery or reuse depot? The answer is 'yes' in every instance. But now, mon cherie, I find you rather dull and unfocused. On one page you're telling me how to enjoy heirloom tomatoes a la Vegetarian Times, and on the next you're showing me pictures of standard-issue 'tiny but trendy' living spaces a la Apartment Therapy. This thematic schizophrenia is still more apparent in the insipid blog tutorials that you've begun to merely abstract and republish a la Reader's Digest. (That you would actually waste paper to rehearse a blog post on DIY haircuts in which the most sage advice is to 'pay careful attention at your next professional haircut' and then to 'watch haircutting tutorials on YouTube' is really beyond me.) I'm also concerned that you've become something of a handmaiden for Etsy, which I love, but which I get for free on my computer.
I know that you are, in part, a victim of your own success, dear Readymade. Because of you, more people are doing-it-themselves--an ethos that, thanks to the Internet, now includes publishing, too. Consequently, I suspect that it's somewhat difficult to find contributers who'd prefer the stability of print publicity to the ease and accessibility of push-button publishing. I also understand that the 2009 relocation of your offices from Berkeley to Des Moines, IA completely up-ended your staff, and that producing a decidedly West Coast publication in the Middle West must be...problematic. (As a one-time Berkeley-to-Iowa transplant, I understand this more than you will ever know.)
I want you to know that I don't fault you, Readymade, and that I will cherish the fine years we spent together, you and me. I wish you the best, and hope that you will succeed among your new audience of subscribers, which, tellingly, includes my mother.