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The Sun Interview

Worth Fighting For

An Interview With Holly Near

You are not apolitical when youre an artist,” Holly Near asserted in a recent interview. “Artists have a certain political power. . . . You're an affecter.” Few songwriters seem to really understand the implications of their words, and fewer still wield them consciously and gracefully as Holly Near. Her name has become virtually synonymous with “women’s music” — her concerts are part political rally, part feminist meeting, and part pure entertainment. Unabashedly feminist, lesbian, anti­-military and radical, Near is also unabashedly human. When she rears back her head of blond hair and sings songs in polished soprano, you can tell she’s felt each word. Her songs are passionate and revealing — whether it be passion about a new lover, or the B-1 bomber, the sincerity shines through. In her eleven-year, eight-album career, Near has shifted style and emphasis many times. She consistently defies her own labels. Through it all she’s found a rare, fine harmony between politics and music, righteous anger and warm good humor.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Breeds


Toward the end of his life, the mid-Western poet and interpreter of American history, John G. Neihardt, appeared on a TV talk show. He talked about Indians. He said, quietly and sadly, that the last of them were gone. He had ended his 1932 book about Black Elk, the Oglala medicine man, by having the old man say, “ . . . the nation’s hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead.”

Scott and Helen Nearing: A Tribute

Self-reliance has been linked with democracy in the American mind since Thomas Jefferson extolled the small farmer as the cornerstone of a free society. Thoreau sang of similar values. In our day, Scott and Helen Nearing have epitomized the best of that tradition.

Gratitude

On September 19, 1981, at the northernmost reach of Laughing Snake Mesa, a single Navajo or perhaps Hopi Indian stood with a straight back and recited the true words that had come to him from his tradition. Below him, at an average of 600 feet, though at some places it was close to 1,000, the desert stretched away further than the eye, a dry and empty place. Water was known 25 miles to the south, but only by the old Indians who most often these days seemed to have been swallowed by the tourists wanting tourquoise and blankets and dolls . . . swallowed as well by the wonderful alcohol the tourist money brought and bought. Who could say if the old Indians really knew where the water was? Certainly no one would risk the walk across such arid, uninviting, and, finally, boring countryside, home of a few sidewinders in search of even fewer luncheon lizards, a little pinon here and there, a little cactus, and, now and then, the pools of red-brown silt blown down from the mesa-tops by a wearing wind. Nor yet did it seem worthwhile to waste the gas to travel south on old men’s words. Prob’bly bust an axle. To what purpose, verifying what old men said — old drunk men, feeble, who could no longer even straighten their fingers to point to the places where great events and small had taken place? There was no necessity to verify water 25 miles to the south of Laughing Snake Mesa, no need. After all, was there not water here, here where we stand? Why travel on the basis of what is only possible and very possibly impossible and most possibly an uninteresting Possible at that? Why waste the gas or even use the horse? Might the horse not step inadvertently into some crevice or crack, some secret animal place, and hurt its leg . . . and there you’d be, 25 miles from anywhere in the hot sun with nothing but sweat in your pits and your thumb up your ass. For what? For water? Hell, there’s a tap in the lavatory; help yourself — here’s the key. Man, no one explores in this climate. Don’t waste your time. Don’t waste your money. Don’t waste your energy.

Fiction

A Clouded Visit With Rolling Thunder

so sometime or another, when i was living in east texas trying to figure out how to make a living doing nothing, i decided i would be a promoter. except of course i wouldn’t be a promoter of rotten stuff, nothing porno or bad for the environment, only healthy good-for-you kinds of promotion, the educational let’s-learn-together kinds of things, everybody learning and expanding their consciousnesses while i did the same thing but took a little money off the top for my extra trouble of bringing in the guru/rolfing instructor/ecstatic-religious counselor who would get the rest of the money after the percentage was taken off.

Readers Write

The Moon

When the moon is full I go absolutely crazy, I do. I go mad. I want to run and jump and leap through the streets, I want to have sex with trees, to dance until dawn. I want to climb mountains wearing soft butterscotch boots that go all the way up my thigh. I can feel radiant energies shooting into and out of every part of me. I don’t know what to do first! I feel totally crazed. It’s a truly wonderful sensation and it lasts (as I believe the full moon does) for about three days — maybe longer, depending. Then I forget about it somehow, just to be surpised all over again.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization.

George Bernard Shaw

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