I think readers who complain that the stories in The Sun deal too much with the dark side of life are missing the point. For me, the important part of these stories is not the evil or the sorrow they describe, but what Ira Glass called the “transformational moment” [“Escaping the Box,” June 19991. And these transformational moments do not involve miraculous recoveries or answers or cures. Such “inspirational” fare can ultimately be more discouraging than inspiring if it feels too removed from one’s own experience. Instead, the transformational moments in The Sun show how individuals begin to see more clearly and to recognize and accept the truth of what is happening to them.
I have had moments like that in my own life, but I find that the lessons I learn seldom retain their freshness. For those lessons to stay with me on an emotional level, I need to relearn them over and over. This is why I continue to read The Sun. Its stories help recreate the moments when we see with clarity the complicated texture of our lives. They don’t necessarily show people changing the world, or inspire me to rush out and change it myself. But they do describe people who, if nothing else, for a moment see the world clearly, and for me that makes a difference.