I want to thank Maureen Stanton for her memorable piece, “Night of Dying” [Issue 190]. It is not too graphic.
Reading her truthful description of a beloved’s body breaking down, I am reminded once again that my body, momentarily comely, comfortable, and obedient, will someday be shit-smeared, painful, and out of control. That mindfulness is a powerful help in my attempts to be joyfully present and to greet every other living being I meet with compassion.
I just finished reading the Correspondence section in Issue 189. There were several announcements of subscription cancellations, written by those objecting to The Sun’s attention to things sexual, gloomy, depressing, dark, and negative. Though they are by no means the only perspectives The Sun presents, I, for one, am greatly relieved to find a forum that acknowledges these elements of the spiritual life.
It seems insupportably naive (not to mention spiritually shallow) to imagine an inner life that does not concern itself with all aspects of being. The habit of claiming that which is good, light, positive, and metaphysical for oneself, while assigning all that is bad, dark, negative, and corporeal somewhere else, is socially irresponsible, psychologically fragmenting, and spiritually hazardous.
I’m grateful to The Sun for providing a place for diversity and contradiction.
With Issue 188, I got a reminder that my trial subscription was ending, and inviting me to renew for a year. I’ve read and reread the six issues I received, and frankly, I can’t make up my mind just how to respond to The Sun.
I’m entranced by some of your articles, the rare good poem, the humor, the philosophy — but I’m put off, offended, in fact, by your not-so-subtle leftist politics. Do you consider yourself a political journal?
The otiose diatribe between Andrea Wolpert and Colman McCarthy [“Study War No More,” Issue 188] is neither logic nor literature. So why do you subject subscribers to such political mush? Have you done a reader survey that indicates your subscribers like this sort of non-journalism, or are you and your staff simply imposing your ideology on the public through the pages of The Sun?
Obviously, something about The Sun attracts me; why else would I take such time and effort to fathom your motives? It is a sometimes lively journal, and one in which I would probably be pleased to have my work appear. But get rid of the politics! There are ideas other than political ones, especially those to the extreme right or left.
But — what the hell! Here’s my check for thirty bucks. Renew my subscription and make sure I don’t miss any copies, please!
Regarding Virginia M. Hubbs’s letter [Issue 187] lamenting a lack of female writers in The Sun, I don’t think the ratio of male to female writers is as important as the qualities of the writing. Many male contributors to The Sun appear to have absorbed a good deal of feminine energy — which is why The Sun is so delightfully distinctive.
Why absorb the feminine nature and energy? Anything that is beautiful, powerful, or positive always merits feminine gender identification.
But anything that is ugly, evil, clumsy, or negative merits a masculine identification. We say, for example, “The Titanic sank on her maiden voyage,” when there is nothing at all feminine about a conglomeration of steel, nuts, bolts, and copper wiring.
Conversely, if one were to encounter a rattlesnake, one would say, “He almost bit me,” or “I almost didn’t see him.” Let a fisherman tell of a prize catch and it’s, “She was a beaut!” Let him describe a fish he had trouble with and it becomes, “He was an ornery cuss!” Politics — traditionally the province of men — was developed by men, but political ideals (liberty, justice) are symbolized by female figures.
We speak of “woman’s intuition” and accord women this mysterious sixth sense. Yet, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” It means the male lacks vision, is sensual, easily satisfied, and can understand little more than what immediately pleases him.
Carl Jung believed the ideal healthy and happy state combines the energy of the male and female. Few writers have been able to naturally express the inherent qualities of both genders.
Among male writers, I know of none who has surpassed W. Somerset Maugham in sensitivity, grace, and subtle charm; I know of no female writer who has surpassed Carson McCullers in brilliantly embodying both mystiques.
The Sun balances these mystiques. It is the nature of the writing that is important, not the organs of the writers.
I have been subscribing to The Sun for two years and I want to respond to your appeal for financial help. But the bottom line is that I would rather have advertisements in The Sun than calls for donations. I belong to Wilderness Society, National Parks, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Audubon Society, and Nature Conservancy, and I actually enjoy looking at their ads. I’m sure I would feel the same about organizations that would advertise in The Sun. Do I make my point?
I so enjoy your publication but I so prefer to save paper and money that I subscribe with a friend. From your own offerings I’ve come to feel I know you so well that I want to chide you into financial maturity.
I have renewed my subscription for two years. I hope you make it, but don’t ask for contributions to meet bills that should have been (sorry) solicited from advertisers. This elicits a “not-on-your-life” knee-jerk reaction from me.
Just why did you drop advertising? I can’t fathom it. Did some sudden mystical spell point you toward a fog-shrouded image? I welcome ads that target particular needs or dreams of readers. Just keep it to a respectable percentage of the entire content.
Given the economic realities, you are shooting yourself in the foot with appeals for donations. Why not institute an annual subscription adjustment reflecting your actual costs? I enjoy the format with no advertising and will support you and your staff so that you can continue producing it. I guess the bottom line is that I would rather feed my intellectual hunger at the actual cost and use my discretionary funds to feed the physical hunger around me.