When I lived in Brooklyn, New York, I discovered an odd little publication called Three Weeks in a local bookstore (Spoonbill & Sugartown, if you’re interested) some time in the late summer of 2002. Three Weeks was laid out in an anachronistic, late-eighteenth- or early-nineteenth-century style and typeface, and printed on newsprint. It was an unusual format, too, printed on a paper about half the size of a tabloid sheet, and then folded in half so that it was taller than it was wide. The price was “two cents, voluntary.”
The writing was both topical and trivial (the back of each issue had an essay on “The Weather”) but arch and old-fashioned, like the publication’s appearance. I enjoyed it, sometimes in spite of its willful eccentricity, and dutifully picked it up every three weeks, until it stopped publication. I only have four or five copies, but they published eighteen in all, and thanks to an enterprising Three Weeks enthusiast and the power of the Internet, you can read them all online at the Henry William Brownejohns Appreciation Page. (Brownejohns was the name of one of the writers, all of whom, I’m guessing, used pseudonyms.)
It’s not for everybody, I’m afraid. I failed to convince any of my friends to read it even when it was being published. Here’s a typical title of a Three Weeks article:
PALLOR VERSUS TAWN
WHITE FOLKS’ COCKAMAMIE PERCEPTION OF HEALTH, & COMMON SENSE
Also, On Shirts, and How We Feel People Ought to Wear Them
There’s also quite a bit of political writing, which despite, or perhaps because of, the archaic style, manages to be interesting and relevant. Three Weeks published from Oct. 15, 2001, till Oct. 19, 2002, and for me, at least, captured the mood of the great city (or at least my mood in the great city) after the calamity of Sept. 11, 2001, better than anything else: trying to make sense of what had happened while also trying to preserve your sense of humor and previous interests. Anyway, I’m very glad somebody’s chosen to preserve this bit of literary ephemera.