Tuesday, 4 December 2018

rookie forever

On Saturday evening I returned home to sit on my bed and write, as I had done many times before. This time I was trying to make sense of my feelings about Rookie folding. The news winded me in a way I did not expect. Despite my teens ending 2 years ago, it is only after reading Tavi's final editor's letter that I realise how much change life has brought me over the past 7 years. I considered editing what I wrote to make it into a more complete post. What you see below, however, is an ode to my early blog posts which were just my thoughts spewed onto the page. Sitting down last Saturday, I thought back to that time, how much creativity flowed from a necessity to create my own world, and how much Rookie influenced it.

Saturday evening. 2nd December 2018.

Yesterday, Tavi announced that Rookie is closing. I feel such an ache in my heart when I think of it. I remember the evening before I turned 18, sad that my ‘forever’ was coming to an end. This is similarly bittersweet, but it feels more final. For the past three years, I have legally been an adult, moved away from home, dated and socialised more than my teen self knew I was capable of. But none of that made me feel as grown up as hearing that Rookie will soon be gone.

On the eve of my 18th birthday, I knew that my life was about to change, and I would never again rush home from school to read Rookie, listen to Morrissey and Lorde and spend hour after hour focusing on my latest obsession, journaling and reading until my eyes hurt. I still do some of those things, but, as I predicted, it is not the same.

Today it is 5 whole years since the Forever editor’s letter was published. I was 16. I have reread it countless times since. I even wrote essays on it for my creative writing module at university. I can’t help but reflect on what I have (and haven’t) achieved since then, and whether my 16-year-old self, trapped in forever, would like the person I have become. This month, I am interning at Dazed and next month I am starting Central Saint Martins. I like to think she would be proud, but I know she would also quote Patti Smith to me and say, “never let go of that fiery sadness called desire.” Keep creating just for yourself. Don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Maintain a rich inner world.

Today I went to an independent magazine store in Canterbury. I spent some time browsing for a publication I had never heard of before; feeling as though I must support smaller publications with a sense of urgency. I purchased Anxy. Its blend of upbeat imagery and articles about figuring it all out reminded me of Rookie. When I went to pay, I spoke to the man behind the till, told him about Rookie, asked how long the shop had been there. He said he doubted it would keep going for more than a few months. I am saddened by the state of journalism at the moment. Even some of my favourite publications churn out blatant clickbait whilst conceding to nepotism.

I never wrote for Rookie, though I submitted a few pieces, and now I never will. Once they published some of my journals and another time, they asked Joanna Newsom one of my questions, so, as a writer, I existed on the fringes. But as a reader, in my private moments (and there were a lot of them- I wasn’t popular at school and didn’t have a boyfriend) I guess I embodied Rookie. When fellow Rookie, Lorde released ‘Pure Heroine’ I was moved by how much it spoke to my adolescent experience as a Rookie reader.

As Tavi so wistfully wrote half a decade ago: “Nothing lasts forever.” I think I understand that now.

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