A family recipe, a childhood memory, a Depression-era handout
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Elizabeth Rose Campbell was the Assistant Editor for The Sun from 1976 to 1982. She lives in Carrboro, North Carolina.
This month marks The Sun’s twenty-fifth anniversary. As the deadline for the January issue approached — and passed — we were still debating how to commemorate the occasion in print. We didn’t want to waste space on self-congratulation, but we also didn’t think we should let the moment pass unnoticed. At the eleventh hour, we came up with an idea: we would invite longtime contributors and current and former staff members to send us their thoughts, recollections, and anecdotes about The Sun. Maybe we would get enough to fill a few pages.
What we got was enough to fill the entire magazine.
Though we haven’t devoted the whole issue to the anniversary, we have allowed the section to grow beyond our original plans. After seeing the pieces, we felt that our readers would enjoy them as much as we did — for the information about the magazine’s history, for the glimpses into the writers’ lives, and (not least) for the quality of the writing.
I like Ramona. I want to win the lottery, pay her brother back for the car, bounce her and the baby out of the attic apartment.
When I bought my first SUN, I was just out of journalism school, a promising graduate who never had the nerve to tell her teacher she did not believe at all in a separation between the perceiver and the perceived. As an emerging news reporter I was in big trouble. The discovery of THE SUN was enough persuasion for me to drop any plans to be honored in the halls of Howell, at the University of North Carolina — the second-ranked journalism school in the country.
The first time it happened, I was in Bible School in Weldon, North Carolina on the second floor of the Methodist Church educational building, listening to Dozen Pierce say that God knew how many hairs were on everybody’s head. I wondered if He knew why my stomach hurt.
Peering into each room of THE SUN, I look for what I want to carry with me, travel clothes for the psyche to wear to the next chapter, where I don’t know a soul, have had no previews.
Seth says the inner intent always forms any exterior change, which contradicts the Darwinian assumption that outer motivation propels the development of new abilities. It is not the survival of the fittest that is the prime purpose of a species. Survival is merely the means by which a species can attain its goal of enhancing the quality of life, as it experiences life through itself.
Seth’s oceanic desire is to remind us that no death comes unbidden, that death is as spontaneous a creation as our own lives, engineered by our beliefs, which, no matter how distorted, cannot destroy in some final deed of discipline the impulse to be.
Seth is an elder but an equal, who insists, “Basically you are no more of a physical being than I am, and I have donned and discarded more bodies than I care to tell. . . . Consciousness creates form. It is not the other way around. . . .”
It is a short-term hurt for a long-term heal; I suddenly understand, not through some feat of logic but through living alone with the only thing I have ever had or will ever have — the pearl of my Isness. I am not alone, I am the beloved, I am understood, and there is nothing I need ever change.
By early July, something has run its course. I have filled some quota of failure. Certain delusions have been dealt with, and I am glad. Now I know what not to do.
I was an infant, clinging to an umbilical cord, and the stark truth of this world was that there was no one to clutch, cling to, no one to reel me in, no one to rescue me but myself. So I clumsily conceived a new self, one that did not need to design an intellectual wall of insulation against this vacuum.