I absolutely love The Sun. Without fail, in every issue I’ve ever read, there has been writing aplenty to admire. The Sun is one of the most democratic literary magazines I have ever encountered in that it celebrates and honors anyone who has something worthwhile to say. I have never read a less than stellar piece of writing in it. Edited by Sy Safransky, The Sun’s contents are always a revelation, a slap in the face reminder that brilliance and compassion are lurking everywhere.
This issue is no exception. Opening with an extensive interview with “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” author Nicholas Carr, I immediately felt intrigued and enlightened by this ongoing dialogue. This is a topic I’m only mildly familiar with; I personally don’t Twitter, Facebook, or “friend,” and my “surfing” behavior is pretty much limited to the NewPages blog. But previous issues of The Sun have taught me that the payoff is guaranteed, that even when the subject matter fails to spark an immediate interest the depth, insight, or literary quality will always justify the read. For those more familiar with the topic, Carr’s interview may seem oversimplified or a restatement of past news, but I found his direct response to opposing viewpoints insightful and convincing. As a sideways counterpoint, Carr’s interview is immediately followed by the equally intriguing yet somewhat more radical (conservative?) approach in a reprint by Wendell Berry titled “Why I am Not Going to Buy a Computer.” Berry swiftly negates the wisdom of bothering with these stupid machines altogether.
Then comes Laura Esther Wolfson’s beautifully written personal essay “Proust at Rush Hour,” which begins with the familiar sentiment, “My job is a drag.” Wolfson describes the numbing realities of the generic 9-5 job, which in her case is only made bearable by her to-and-from commute. Likewise, Patricia Brieschke’s “All of Me,” is a painfully honest, gut wrenching examination of womanhood and eating disorders, a difficult read which feels like a voyeuristic vortex, a woman laid bare, a life still begging for acceptance and space. Christina Fitzpatrick’s short story “Boston to New York,” about a mother coping with the brutal murder of her daughter, also startles with its extraordinary honesty, though her honesty is much more subdued, less raw, and more introverted than Brieschke’s. I also loved Lou Lipsitz’s poem, “Reading a Swedish Poet,” with the lines:
And a poem can help too, insinuating itself
into our bewildered psyches
like a tiny man on a distant hillside
waving his arms. He wears a bright blue shirt.
Is he signaling us to stop? To come over?
To me, a particular bonus of The Sun is its monthly “Readers Write” section where readers submit mini memoirs on a designated topic, this month’s being “The Dinner Table.” I’m constantly astounded by the poignancy, the sadness, the riveting nature of our everyday lives. As hokey as it sounds, Lipsitz’s poem makes me think of The Sun itself, the way its contents insinuate into our bewildered psyches, signaling us to stop, pause, and examine. The Sun’s overriding sensibility seems to be that everything matters, that poetry is lurking everywhere. I highly recommend that everyone take a moment to bask in The Sun.