Issue 529 | Correspondence | The Sun Magazine


I read Molly Bashaw’s “What to Expect” [November 2019] in tears, my heart pounding. I’m a seventy-one-year-old man. Years ago my wife lost several children to miscarriage. We both grieved, but I realized that it was worse for her than for me. Though I had compassion and sought to comfort her, it wasn’t until I read Bashaw’s essay that I really grasped what my wife must have been going through. After all these years, I felt as if I were inside my wife’s mind and heart and body — and feeling what was left of my own grief, too. May all women forgive those husbands who care deeply but just cannot know.

Don Wesemann St. Louis, Missouri

Poe Ballantine keeps mining the same ground, and continues to unearth nuggets time after time [“Seven Days in a Sea-Creature Town,” November 2019]. I always discover something new in his writing, and always want to say to the younger Poe, “It’s going to be OK. You’ll see.”

Susan Heaney Alread, Arkansas

I loved the humor and truth in Becky Mandelbaum’s “Goodbye, Sugar Land” [October 2019]. The story resonates with my own father’s departure to be with his secretary, who was ten years younger than my mother. I was eleven years old.

My mother, too, allowed us newfound freedoms: to pop our own popcorn, to cook spaghetti on school nights, and to paint our bedrooms any color we wanted. Like Laney in Mandelbaum’s story, I hurt my mother and middle sibling with “potent single sentences,” saying their fussy dispositions were the reason my father had left. We were an Italian-Irish Catholic family in California in 1971, so it seems these stories and emotions cross cultures and eras.

My mother met the love of her life years later, but he died in his late fifties. My father is married to his fifth wife and says he, too, has finally found the love of his life.

Name Withheld

I live in the Bay Area, in one of the more environmentally conscious cities in the U.S., where my heart is broken by a massive homeless crisis, devastating fires that are the result of climate change, and a barrage of destructive decisions by our leader in the White House. And my heart was broken again by Angie McCullagh’s short story “Green Freak” [October 2019], which I read to friends I’d invited to dinner and to coworkers in my office. I was met by a moment of pensive, emotional silence from each person who heard it.

Agi Ban Oakland, California

Reading Mark Leviton’s interview with Alex S. Vitale [“To Protect and to Serve?”] and Edward Conlon’s essay “Cop Diary” back to back [September 2019] left me confused in the best possible way. These pieces make it clear that law enforcement is a complicated, multifaceted issue that cannot be resolved through black-and-white thinking. I will be pondering this topic for a long time. I hope those in power do the same.

Dina Williams West Sand Lake, New York

Etheridge Knight’s poem in your September 2019 issue [“Feeling Fucked Up,” Dog-Eared Page] is an affront to all Christians, with its blasphemous references to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Clearly The Sun’s editors lost their sense of decency when they published this.

Cancel my subscription. Moreover, I urge you to issue an apology to all Christians who were offended by this lapse in judgment.

Name Withheld

I’m afraid you are going to catch hell from some of your readers for your September 2019 issue. Several will no doubt cancel their subscriptions, but you probably knew that when you put the issue together.

I am ninety-one years old and live in a senior center. Your magazine takes me places I could never go and tells me things I would otherwise never know. And then it brings me back, safe and sound — and wiser.

Betsy Bertolino Houghton, Michigan

I have been enamored with Native Americans since I was a child, and I found many new insights in Mark Leviton’s interview with Paul Chaat Smith [“Our Fellow Americans,” August 2019]. The first was about the decentralized leadership of the American Indian Movement [AIM], which reminded me of Occupy Wall Street, another movement that has disappointingly faded in importance. The second was the too-common practice in the United States — and in the media, in particular — of focusing on extremes rather than nuances. We — and I say this as an American who lives overseas — should not allow the sensational to cloud our headlines and our minds.

I look forward to viewing Smith’s Americans exhibit in Washington, D.C., and to reading more of his work.

Heather Skinner Mainz

Mark Leviton’s interview with Paul Chaat Smith has restored my faith in The Sun as a leading purveyor of our shared humanity. I’m thankful to Smith for telling the truth, brutal or otherwise. Maybe the truth will free us from imagining we’re so different — inferior or superior — from one another.

C.G. Armesto Buffalo, New York

The Sun has been a magnificent teaching tool. I used the short passages from the August 2019 “One Nation, Indivisible” to fill out my students’ understanding of Native American issues. I have also used Readers Write to teach them about topics like race, gender, and prejudice. The texts are accessible and insightful, offering an alternative to the mass media my students consume.

Michelle Koza Brooklyn, New York

When I first discovered The Sun it was a literary and artistic gem, with unique writing and exquisite black-and-white photography. I am saddened that it has deteriorated into a political sounding board and platform for the editor’s favorite writers. I don’t care for President Trump either, but I certainly don’t hate him or consider our nation to be on a spiral into hell since his election, which seems to be the point your recent issues are trying to make. Your love affair with Sparrow baffles me when there is so much undiscovered writing out there. His cynical musings were entertaining once or twice but have become tiresome.

Please cancel my subscription.

Mary Beth Gilligan Dillon, Colorado

I recently installed a Little Free Library in my front yard, where passersby can take or leave a book. I have at least ten years’ worth of Sun magazines tucked away in my closet. I’m now compelled to share them, finally, and will place three or four in my library each week. I’ll be sad to see them go, but it’s time to share.

Mary Placerville, California

Whenever The Sun arrives, my husband, Charles, and I read it aloud to each other until we finish the issue. We live in a suburb of Washington, D.C. Charles bought the place thirty-three years ago and doesn’t want to leave. I’ve lived here for three years and don’t like it much. Lately we joke that we have to stay together no matter what, because we’d hate to fight for custody of our Sun.

Kathy Ogle Upper Marlboro, Maryland

I just renewed my subscription after a fifteen-year hiatus. During that time I lost most of my sight.

Recently, I discovered I can access The Sun online so that a program on my computer can read it to me. It is with great joy that I can once again appreciate your magazine, which is a lifeline. The quality has only improved. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

Robert Demko Wilmington, North Carolina

I let my subscription lapse after telling myself that, because I’m back in school, I can’t really afford luxuries like The Sun or the good kind of peanut butter. But your magazine is where my education is honed, where my heart is allowed to be tender, where beauty and truth are more important than advertising. I bought a few copies from the newsstand before I realized that it would be better if I just renewed. Then I went ahead and bought the good kind of peanut butter, too.

Kathryn Swartz Harrisonburg, Virginia
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