Collecting bottles, tossing leftovers, taking out the garbage
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Our subscriber list has grown far beyond what it was then; we now have seventy-two thousand names on it. The staff is larger. The look of the magazine may have changed, but its content hasn’t traveled far from its roots. It continues to explore those big, unwieldy themes, offering glimpses of the mysterious and maddening and magnificent experiences that connect us.
The illustration that is now part of our logo appears for the first time on the cover of issue 9, which came out in June 1975. The artist, Tom Cleveland, took inspiration from a face on a tarot card and added a monocle for a whimsical touch. The back cover of the issue features a photo of a tree and a quote by Richard Brautigan: “I wonder whether what we are publishing now is worth cutting down trees to make paper for the stuff.”
This month marks The Sun’s twenty-fifth anniversary. As the deadline for the January issue approached — and passed — we were still debating how to commemorate the occasion in print. We didn’t want to waste space on self-congratulation, but we also didn’t think we should let the moment pass unnoticed. At the eleventh hour, we came up with an idea: we would invite longtime contributors and current and former staff members to send us their thoughts, recollections, and anecdotes about The Sun. Maybe we would get enough to fill a few pages.
What we got was enough to fill the entire magazine.
Though we haven’t devoted the whole issue to the anniversary, we have allowed the section to grow beyond our original plans. After seeing the pieces, we felt that our readers would enjoy them as much as we did — for the information about the magazine’s history, for the glimpses into the writers’ lives, and (not least) for the quality of the writing.
I’ve always been reluctant to identify myself with any spiritual path. I don't even like to use the word spiritual, because it divides the world into what is and what isn’t.
Also, it’s hard to talk about what is most important to us without cheapening it — even cheapening it with honesty. That’s one argument for keeping our devotions private. Besides, even if you knew whether or not I meditate regularly, how many time I’ve taken psychedelics, how dogeared my copies of the Seth books or A Course in Miracles are, why I have a picture of Neem Karoli on my wall, or how frequently I pray to Jesus, what would that really tell you?
To mark THE SUN’s tenth anniversary, we sent postcards to everyone we could remember who had ever been involved with the magazine — at least everyone for whom we had an address — asking, “What are you doing now, and what does THE SUN mean, or what has it meant, to you?”