I needed to fill a position at The Sun recently. Many accomplished people applied; regrettably, more than a few failed to proofread their own letters. One man misspelled his own name; a recent college graduate said she prided herself on her “strong work ethnic.”

The person I ended up hiring wrote that she’d been introduced to The Sun only recently, when she’d been going through a painful time. She said, “My therapist described it as a treasure, and he’s absolutely right. . . . In the few months that I have been a subscriber, it has been my experience that it never fails to show up in my mailbox when I need it the most — on those days of sadness and loneliness or just plain boredom. I don’t believe I’ve ever felt a genuine kinship to a magazine before, but I do with The Sun.”

Becky’s letter wasn’t the only reason I offered her the job — she also happened to be the best qualified of nearly two hundred applicants — but I appreciated her candor. I imagined she’d be the kind of person with whom I’d be comfortable working, and I was right. She took a chance. She told the truth — which is what we try to do every month in The Sun.

It didn’t surprise me that Becky discovered The Sun during a troubled time in her life. For many readers, The Sun is like a long-lost friend who appears one day out of the blue: a friend who has known some troubles, too; a friend who encourages us to face our sorrows with open eyes and an open heart, not shying away from the pain, but not sentimentalizing it either.

Some people say The Sun is too sad. Sometimes it is. Sometimes life is too sad — too sad even for words. Yet The Sun also reminds us that great suffering can hold within it, like a mother cradling a tiny infant, great joy. The Sun believes in the broken promise of our lives, and The Sun believes in redemption. The Sun believes in love the way the moon, just a sliver tonight, believes in fullness.

Perhaps you know someone who would appreciate the kind of writing and photographs that make The Sun unique. Once again, we’re offering gift subscriptions at half price: a one-year subscription, usually $34, is only $17. There’s no limit on the number of half-price subscriptions you may order. (We’re sorry, but you may not renew your own subscription as part of this offer.)

You may also want to give our newest book: Stubborn Light: The Best of The Sun, Volume III. This handsome paperback brings together the best works from the magazine’s second decade — more than six hundred pages of the revealing, honest, sometimes risky writing you’ve come to expect from The Sun. It’s the perfect companion to A Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky: The Best of The Sun, Volumes I and II, and our other collections, Sunbeams: A Book of Quotations and Four in the Morning: Essays by Sy Safransky. For the holidays, all books (except Stubborn Light) are on sale for 15 percent off the cover price.

Our holiday offer is good until December 31, 2000, but an early reply helps us process your order more quickly. We’ll send a card announcing your gift. And we’ll bill you later, if you wish.

This year, consider giving a gift that’s provocative and enlightening — one that might arrive just when a friend needs it the most.

Sy Safransky
Editor, The Sun