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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Sacred And The Profane

I was quite impressed with the April issue of THE SUN, for it is a remarkable reflection of you. For you both are the most interesting combination of the sacred and the profane that I have met.

The Christ Of The Double-Wides

The country is barren, sand-hills and pines stretching from north to south for 400 miles in either direction from Norfolk to the Florida line. William Tecumseh Sherman stopped in February of 1865, fresh from the March to the Sea and the burning of Columbia. Finding nothing to destroy, he paused and then went elsewhere, looking for something worthy of his attention. The natives stayed on, rooted on the land, mournful, gradually becoming Americans with cars, trips to the K-Mart, factory jobs and televisions.

poet of the ordinary

Paul Goodman Remembered

In my freshman year at Duke, the university held a symposium on The Meaning of the University. I knew nothing of educational theory, nor of the turmoil surrounding colleges that was soon to erupt (the year was 1966), but I was anxious to participate in the life of the mind that the university offered, and the symposium was touted as a major event. In a crowded, bustling Page Auditorium, the dignitaries moved to the stage: a couple of professors from other universities, a writer on educational theory, the Stanford student body president (David Harris), a moderator, and the president of Duke, Douglas Knight, who was to give the opening address. With the hoardes of people, the name cards, microphones, podium, stage lights, popping flashbulbs, it seemed a most impressive event. Douglas Knight had been a Yale professor (when, two years later, I took his course in the European Epic Tradition, I found him a brilliant teacher), but he was a rambling talker, speaking on a subject I was unfamiliar with, and I let my mind wander, content vaguely to soak up the atmosphere. I joined in the warm applause that followed his talk.

This Season’s People

Trust the teaching, not the teacher, goes a familiar spiritual axiom. But, in the case of Stephen Gaskin, it’s hard to distinguish one from the other, as his own lifestyle is a powerful reflection of the truths he speaks.

Natural Birth Control, Natural Birth

Reviews Of A Cooperative Method Of Natural Birth Control And Spiritual Midwifery

When first contemplating writing this review, I decided to start by saying I’ve been using this method for one year and so far, so good (but my fingers are crossed). Since then I’ve discovered that I’m pregnant (happily). Needless to say, this somewhat tempers my original laudatory intentions. Still, I think that with more care than I took, it is a viable alternative to the current means of birth control, most of which poison and/or upset the balance of your body, or interfere with the flow of energy. However, if you do not have a partner who is willing to abstain or use an alternative method of love-making during fertile or potentially fertile times, this method is not for you.

The Total FM Guide

The first Triangle Total FM Guide was published by Dave Searls two years ago. It was, for Dave, a disaster. The experience of selling copies of the guide to area stereo shops, which, in turn, sold them to the public, was “too awful to explain . . . In the long run, what was to have cleared a couple of hundred bucks for me ended up costing me much time and life expectancy.”

Temple Sweeper

Eight years ago I decided to become a vegetarian. This decision corresponded roughly with a hazily conceptual political activism and very clearly with an infatuation with a male vegetarian. Since then, my friend has emigrated to Canada, my political expressions undergo periodic shifts and relocations, and concern for my diet has moved from the realm of “proof of lifestyle” to a central place in my efforts toward well being.

Tomatoes: Who Stole The Taste?

Fresh, red, mouth-watering tomatoes — the kind that have become so rare — have an almost magical power to evoke memories of our past. Like most Southerners, I do not have to reach back very far into family history to find rural, small-farm roots. My grandmother was born and raised on a farm in Madison County, Tennessee. As a boy I cherished visits to “the country” and vividly remember lunch time when everyone would come in and sit down at a table overflowing with fresh vegetables from the farm: black-eyed peas, field peas, pole beans (with a little ham for seasoning), chilled green onions and, of course, tomatoes. Lots of them. Sauce from the vegetables was cleaned up with a little cornbread and eased down with iced tea. As best I can remember, food never tasted so good.

Shotgun Vision

Book Review

Mike Rigsby, whose poems we’ve published before, asked me to say something about his new book, Shotgun Vision.

*NOTE: Original copies of this issue are no longer available. Unbound, laser-printed copies will be provided for print orders.

Quotations

Sunbeams

The world, Govinda, is not imperfect or slowly evolving along a long path to perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment; every sin already carries grace within it, all small children are potential old men, all sucklings have death within them, all dying people — eternal life. It is not possible for one person to see how far another is on the way; the Buddha exists in the robber and dice player; the robber exists in the Brahmin. During deep meditation it is possible to dispel time, to see simultaneously all the past, present and future, and then everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman. Therefore it seems to me that everything that exists is good — death as well as life, sin as well as holiness, wisdom as well as folly. Everything is necessary, everything needs only my assent, my loving understanding; then all is well with me and nothing can harm me. I learned through my body and soul that it was necessary for me to sin, that I needed lust, that I had to strive for property and experience nausea and the depths of despair in order to learn not to resist them, in order to learn to love the world, and no longer compare it with some kind of desired imaginary world, some imaginary vision of perfection, but to leave it as it is, to love it and be glad to belong to it.

— Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

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