Thanks for “The Prophet Explains Religion” by Barbara O’Brien [Issue 195]. I am a semidevout Christian, and I think all Christians should read this poem.

James Fallaw
Melbourne, Florida

Hats off to Barbara O’Brien for her wonderful “The Prophet Explains Religion,” and to The Sun for having nothing by Sparrow in Issue 195.

Judy Sacco
Seattle, Washington

I must agree with some of your recent correspondents about the deteriorating quality of The Sun. I am consistently disappointed with what you’re choosing to publish of late. The new design adds insult to injury.

If you’re on such hard times, why not sell advertisements? How much more offensive could they be than self-indulgent soliloquies on emotions and experiences better kept private?

Peggy Weaver
Asheville, North Carolina

I guess in a country where book learnin’ and the official-looking degrees it generates are more important than years of experience, I shouldn’t have been surprised to see a letter like Bill Schlicht’s [Issue 195].

For me (and I’ve been a reader for about eight years now), one of the great joys of The Sun has been the disappearance of big names and an emphasis on the innate wisdom that is present among those who remain unknown. A good PR campaign is a thing of wonder and a joy to behold, but it doesn’t make a message any more profound. That there are those among us who walk around unrecognized and yet are filled with wisdom is an intriguing treat. By blessing such writings with the mark of Serious Publication, The Sun enables us to see a little of the wisdom in ourselves more clearly.

P.S. Michael Ventura’s “The Witness Tree: Memoir Of A Ritual” [Issue 195] was about the most exciting thing I have ever read — deep and thrilling. And “Italian Supper” by Daniela Kuper was the perfect dessert.

Victoria+Dodd
Medford, New Jersey

Thank you for “The Witness Tree” by Michael Ventura. That piece may indeed be “risky” by everyday standards, but for me it was like coming home to open arms. I appreciated Ventura’s willingness to bare his struggles and musings about love, death, sanity, friendship, family, passion, awe, community — and ultimately, trust in the interconnectedness of humanity.

As someone who struggled for years with my sanity — in and out of psych wards, labeled with catch-all diagnoses, drugged into a false “balance” in order to survive — I know how much the dance with sanity can devour one’s existence. To paraphrase Anaïs Nin: no one goes mad except out of loneliness. Yes.

That wisdom is echoed by the way Ventura heals his loneliness — a healing that goes way beyond the embrace of a friend, no matter how important that embrace may be.

Hats off to you at The Sun for having the guts to publish a piece that comes straight from the soul.

Cat Saunders
Seattle, Washington

I disagree with those who say advertisements exert subtle censorship. I urge you to reconsider your decision to do away with advertisements. The Sun sheds light in our lives. Don’t let that light disappear because of unfounded worries that appropriate and restrained announcements of goods and services might compromise editorial content.

Dwight Hales
Mountain View, California

Bruce Mitchell’s “The Ward” [Issue 196] is the most moving thing I have read in years.

One grows immune to descriptions of harrowing conditions. You get into what I call the “Yes, yes, Mrs. Lincoln, but how was the rest of the play?” feeling. In reading “The Ward,” I was struck by how well written it was and how little I cared; I don’t have the energy to care about everything. Yet when I got to the last paragraph, I cried. A beautiful, uplifting story.

Joy Calhoun
Glen Ellyn, Illinois