In your April 2023 Correspondence C.F. of El Cerrito, California, wrote regarding their asthma, “I don’t like admitting there is something wrong with me.” I used to think this way, too.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1966 at the age of sixteen. In the ensuing years I treated this chronic disease as an enemy: something to be battled and despised, or at least wishfully ignored. My management of it ranged from fair to poor until one day I nearly drove off a mountain, having blacked out at the wheel from low blood sugar. No one was more frightened by this near miss than my beloved partner, Mary. With time, she helped me see that diabetes is a part of who I am. That realization not only helped me control my disease but also offered a path toward greater acceptance of my other shortcomings.

Rob Bier Miranda, California

In “Sparrow’s Guide to Business” [March 2023] Sparrow owns that his writing is “chaotic,” and, to be sure, his train of thought twists like a double helix. Whenever I read his musings, I feel like I’m taking a selfie with the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Embedded in Sparrow’s random “Guide,” though, I found this pithy nugget: “hatred . . . is just anger imprisoned by ideas.” That’s one for my quote book.

T.M. Johnson Monroe, Washington

I have read Andrew Johnson’s essay “Captain’s Log” [March 2023] at least three times, including out loud to my adult daughter. Each reading reinforces for me that even when things don’t go as planned, there can still be a positive outcome.

Ina Haugen Claremont, California

After reading a bit of Andrew Johnson’s “Captain’s Log,” I felt inclined to skip the rest. From sixteen years of Catholic education and thirty-five years as an engineer, I am infused with notions of order, rules, and laws. The lack of convention in Johnson’s prose stretched the (ungenerous) limit of my tolerance — but that barrier was never breached. Thank goodness. His essay was a treat.

So many of our endeavors — large and small, family-oriented and otherwise — end up in the proverbial ditch, with only our perspective and, if we’re lucky, the kindness of others to salvage them.

Tom Walsh Rockford, Illinois

As introductions go, I could not have had a better one to The Sun than Andrew Johnson’s “Captain’s Log.” I felt like I was floating down the Maramec River with the author, laughing all the way — even if he wasn’t.

If that’s the type of literary adventure I can expect from The Sun, then sign me up.

Beth Glaspie Essex Junction, Vermont

Thacher Schmid’s interview with Eric Tars about the growing housing problem in the United States [“Unsheltered,” February 2023] was thought-provoking and informative. I have been a professional landlord for twenty years, and I work hard to provide clean, well-maintained housing for my tenants — some of whom receive assistance and many of whom do not. Tars mentioned possible actions we could take to help address our nation’s housing problem, one of them being eviction moratoriums. I agree with Tars that housing is a basic human right, but eviction moratoriums revoke landlords’ property rights and imperil our livelihoods.

During the recent eviction moratorium I was unable to terminate leases with nonpaying tenants, but it also became extremely difficult to remove dangerous renters who made life miserable for everyone around them. Tars also mentioned the emergency rental assistance that was made available during the pandemic and how COVID showed that “we really are all in this together.” He is right. We should not nullify landlords’ rights without offering them just compensation.

Alan Kwong Bardstown, Kentucky

I’m a member of my congregation’s racial-justice task force, and Bisi Adjapon’s essay “You’re Not a Racist” [February 2023] knocked the wind out of me. It’s hauntingly sad and beautiful as it addresses identity, truth, and pride.

W.R. Bloomington, Indiana

Readers Write on “The Phone” in your February 2023 issue really rang my bell. I recall the glory days of telephones: droning dial tones, plaintive busy signals, scratchy recordings that told you to “please deposit ten cents for the next three minutes,” and 411 operators who would look up any number on request — unless you got Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine on a bad day.

I used to dream about getting away from the jangling phone. Now I start to worry if I don’t have my glowing device with me at all times. Our analog relationship with the world has been rendered archaic by digital devices. Are we really better off?

Niles Dolbeare Rutherford, California

I was shocked that a magazine I value so highly chose to print a submission on phone sex [Readers Write on “The Phone,” Rob Nelson]. Call me what you will, but when the writer made it a threesome, I hit my limit.

Name Withheld

I wound up on The Sun’s website because I wanted to see what the Internet could tell me about a former teacher of mine: Renée Weber, a professor of philosophy at Rutgers University. She died in 2017. It feels like no small miracle to find her still in The Sun’s archive [“Krishnamurti Remembered,” October 1986]. Today it is fashionable for academics to peer into the intersections of science and mysticism, but in 1986 it was nothing short of rebellious. In an age when many brilliant women are underappreciated, it is a comfort to know one such woman’s contributions have been preserved.

Thank you for keeping your archives easy to access and for presenting older articles with the same smart look as your most recent issues.

Mariette Papic Wall Township, New Jersey


In our May issue the Readers Write entry on “Tattoos” by Elisabeth Preston-Hsu of Decatur, Georgia, was mistakenly attributed to Andrea Rinard, while Rinard’s piece was inadvertently omitted. The Sun regrets both errors, and Rinard’s piece is included here.

When my oldest, Pete, talked about getting a tattoo, the word permanent screamed behind my clenched teeth, but I knew better than to trot out my arguments. Instead I relied on the time-tested belief that he’d eventually talk himself out of it.

The day after his eighteenth birthday, however, he informed me that a place in Ybor City had a half-price special. I thought about telling him tattoos weren’t the sort of thing for which you wanted to use a coupon, but I knew it wouldn’t work, so I clapped my hands and told him I’d get one, too. For the first time, he balked. “Really?”


He’d decided on a quote from a song, written in cursive by one of his “not-like-that” girlfriends. I chose an abstract image of a fox. Our left wrists would be the locations. I was still betting he would back down, but if by some strange wrinkle I did end up with a tattoo, I could cover it with my watchband.

Even when he was in the chair, I was positive he’d spring up and wave his hand for us to leave. I even believed he was going to call it all off as my arm was being cleaned and prepped.

When the needle entered my skin, it felt more like being scratched than stabbed. My sheen of nervous sweat receded. I was really doing this. I wasn’t going to faint or vomit. Thirty minutes later we were outside on the sidewalk, holding up our cling-wrapped arms in pride and disbelief.

In the six years since, Pete has mentioned getting his tattoo removed several times, but the expense and discomfort keep him from doing it. His busy work schedule, and the parenting failures I committed while we were all trapped in one house together during the pandemic, keep him from visiting, calling, or even texting more than once or twice a month.

The lines of my tattoo have thickened and blurred. Still, it’s a cherished souvenir. I brush my fingers across it, remembering how it was before other lines got blurry, and wondering if what I thought was permanent still is.

Andrea Rinard
Lutz, Florida