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Every week, I sort through the pile of junk mail, tear off my name and addy and shred it. It takes about half an hour. I always feel resentful as it is time consuming. 

The previous owners of our house had dogs and kids. How do I know this? Because after three years, I’m still getting some of their catalogs for pampered pooches, boutique children’s clothing, family summer camps and private schools, and mass mailings from their alma mater.

The previous-previous owners supported tons of causes. I get mail for them too. Jewish and Catholic charities, grassroot political foundations, real estate flyers, and an assortment of catalogs. I can create a character sketch about them just from their mail.

With fall in full swing, I feel bad for the mail carrier as he trudges up the hill on our street, a sherpa burdened with a heavy load of holiday catalogs.

I’ve had to change my M.O. From October until the New Year, I sort through the mail on a daily basis. I tear. Shred. In addition to the magazines and normal mail, a blizzard of holiday catalogs lands on my doorstep daily with a loud thunk. Catalogs for home furnishings (are you going to buy a sofa for the holidays?), cheese and sausage gift-packs, cookies and candies, clothing and shoes, gourmet foods (anyone interested in four savory lobster poptpies for $75.00 plus FedEx overnight shipping?), cigar companies, wilderness trekking equipment, flooring and window treatments…the list goes on.

It’s my fault. I buy a lot of things on-line. Therefore, I receive a catalog from every company I’ve ever bought from. I sent a high altitude sleeping bag to a soldier in Afghanistan so I get the catalog from the moutaineering company. I buy cigars for my care packages, thus the cigar catalogs…two of them EVERY WEEK! When I worked, I sent gift packs and candy to my clients. The catalogs keep coming. 

And then there are the catalogs I receive because my name ended up on a mailing list. Grr. And to think, I used to get steamed over the Columbia Record Club and Publisher’s Sweepstakes envelopes that were jammed into my mailbox once a month.

I’ve asked to be taken off mailing lists. It works…sometimes. But for every catalog I’ve stopped receiving, three more show up in its place. The recycling bin gets heavier. 

I subscribe to an assortment of magazines…Bon Appetit, House Beautiful, Vanity Fair, Popular Mechanics, GQ, Maxim, Men’s Health, Sports Illustrated, Wired, Guns and Ammo…the last eight subscriptions are for care packages cause it’s cheaper than buying individual copies of magazines.

Whenever I see the mailman, he gives me a strange look. Maybe it’s because of the mail I receive. Does he wonder if I clean a gun with a Gurkha Torpedo clenched between my teeth as I peruse pages of window treatments and the slobber over the latest must-have power tool? Or perhaps he thinks I’m boning up on tips for a perfect pumpkin roulade and skimming articles on man-scaping (i.e. waxing a hairy back) and gushing over pics of male models who are far prettier than moi. 

What does your mail say about you? Do you receive holiday catalogs by the pound?


My good friend and author Loucinda McGary stepped into the wilds of the self-publishing world last week with her novelette THE SIDHE PRINCESS. A long-time writer, Loucinda’s already published three books with a traditional publisher. 

THE SIDHE PRINCESS is a prequel to her first book, WILD SIGHT, a romantic suspense with paranormal elements that takes place in Northern Ireland. Both are fabulous reads.



I’m fascinated by the New World of self-publishing and like a gawking tourist, I’ve been taking snapshots of Loucinda’s journey—from the elation of creating a beautiful cover to the hell of formatting an e-book for the first time. I’ve followed her blog tour and promotion efforts, which will include a shiny new website. 

Yesterday, I posted a link to a NYT article about Amazon’s growing might as a publisher on my Facebook page. It’s worth a gander.