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The Sun Magazine

The Sun Interview

Thoughts On Community

An Interview With Stephen Gaskin

I remember my visit last November to The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee. This is the Stephen Gaskin commune. Until three years ago, Stephen, a former college teacher, was mostly known for the weekly sermons he gave in San Francisco, known as “Monday Night Class.” He spoke the language of many young people who have turned away from the soft, delightful comforts of their fathers, in their search for a different lifestyle, and attracted a large following.
Some of them moved east with him, to The Farm, located about 50 miles south of Nashville. More than 700 men, women, and children live there now.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

A Primer On Friends, Family And Community

Not to be confused with admirers, or friendly faces, or lovers. No one has a lot of friends — at least, not good friends, and that’s the only kind. Friendship is an investment of understanding (not to be confused with concern), trust (not to be confused with confidence), and love (not to be confused with affection). It takes time, which in itself takes time. When you were a kid, all you ever wanted was one good friend. Has that really changed?

First Night

A country grocery with self-service gas pumps. Fresh milk at low prices. Coldest beer on a twenty-mile stretch. The owner runs an ad in the paper wanting “sharp person to run my store on evenings.” I answer the ad, and strangely enough, I’m hired.

Treehouse: Growing Up, But Mostly Growing

I came to Tree House because I was under so much pressure at home I was about to have a breakdown. My family had broken up and I was living with my mother and my brother. My father had found an­other woman and had a child by her before he was divorced from my mother and married to the other woman. He took his time and waited until the little girl was nine, living at their house, sleeping at ours.

Doing Business

Ways to share. It’s the talk in Chapel Hill. There’s a collective sense of dissatisfaction with “life in the marketplace” — jobs, regular business, money economy, high prices — as well as discontent with the introverted attitude so many of us have toward sharing goods and services, not to mention ideas and love.

An Open Letter To Ram Dass

Ram Dass, the former Richard Alpert, is the author of “Be Here Now,” and “The Only Dance There Is.” He and Timothy Leary, both Harvard professors in the early sixties, helped to make LSD a household word. Ram Dass went on to India, where he met his guru and went through a profound spiritual transformation. He was instructed in yoga and returned to the West to share his teachings. He will be in Durham April 26 to give a public address at Duke University.

Chapel Hill Journal

Yes it really is a battle We struggle so to trade between us energies of love I had wanted to reach out and caress your heart but with hands of stone I couldn’t do it feeling weighted down And everywhere over the globe what war and pain cries skyward fly It is not we are not willing rather so weak and dumb Had we joined forces today had we joined palm to palm strength of equality justice and mercy had we transcended our own gross qualms I spent 15 minutes today choosing what pants to put on Who was waiting for me?


I can live almost anywhere but my relationship with the animals and flora determine if I am at home there. The vibrations of any home, whether in city or countryside, are affected by the life that cohabits with us. And surely the quality of any life indicates and determines the quality of all life. Recently, I sat in the Mebane Oaks woods and remembered some childhood experiences.


The Marriage

Summer in College Town. At 7:30 a.m. eating a bagel with cream cheese at Out To Lunch they discuss getting married. At 5:30 p.m. the same day they are in a lawyer’s office in Raleigh writing their marriage contract. One week later (July 23rd) they sign the contract, in triplicate, and everybody gets a copy. The lawyer’s dog, Gretel, looks on unconcerned.

No More Sheiks

“No more sheiks in this desert, man.” The dark-skinned, bearded one laughed half-heartedly through a mouthful of smiling teeth. “Not one of them bastards left now. Toke?”

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

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