A Bell Ringing In The Empty Sky
The Best Of The Sun Volume II
This second volume from The Sun’s first decade is a glimpse into the magazine’s early years. ‘Subtle, sometimes mystical,’ the Los Angeles Times says, ‘this anthology never disappoints, alternating whimsical essays with soulful contemplations.’
A Short History Of Part Of North Carolina
Lorenzo W. Milam
David C. Childers
New York Diary: Amazing Flesh
My Father’s Garage On Christmas Night
Elizabeth Rose Campbell
David C. Childers, Paul Linzotte
Living At The Edge
Adam Fisher, Sparrow, Bo And Sita Lozoff
Hard Learning: A Diary
In Defense Of Van Gogh
The Lucy Syndrome
David Searls, Linda Burggraf, Brian Adler, Ami Bourne
You Eat It
Death And Other Cures
My Father’s Dying
Virginia L. Rudder
Gently Changing: An Interview With O. Carl Simonton
A Father’s Death
O. Carl Simonton, M.D.
The Silent Mind: An Interview With Jehangir Chubb
Pat Ellis Taylor
O Marie, Ҫoncue Sans Pêché
Memoirs Of A Professional Killer
Man Of Silver, Man Of Gold
Leslie Woolf Hedley
We’re All Doing Time: An Interview With Bo And Sita Lozoff
Howard Jay Rubin
We Are People
Jimmy Santiago Baca
We Killed Them
The Depths Of A Clown: An Interview With Wavy Gravy
Howard Jay Rubin
News From Hacker City
Californicated, Santa Crucified
Something Does Push The River
A Medical Doctor Diagnoses Reality
Irving Oyle, M.D.
The Eleventh Man
Autobiography No. 34
Of God, And My Father
David M. Guy
Seeing The Gift: An Interview With Hugh Prather
How I See God
Virginia Mudd, Kathleen Snipes
An Interview With Ram Dass
Random Notes On Spiritual Life
A Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky would, we knew, be a big book, in spirit as well as size, a generous collection of the best of the essays, interviews, stories, and poems that appeared in The Sun during its first ten years.
Searching for months through the back issues, choosing and discarding, sifting through a decade of words, then sifting some more, we came up with the best, the very best. It was, indeed, a book big in spirit — but it was, alas, too big: more than 1,000 pages, with as many words as War and Peace. Faced with the prospect of yet another round of tough decisions pitting author against author, best against best, we chose instead the time-honored solution favored by parents and politicians: we’d publish two big volumes. Volume I came out in the Spring of 1985. Volume II you’re now holding in your hands.
Since the publication of Volume I — and, in part, because of it — The Sun has found a widening audience. People are drawn to the magazine because it speaks to the human heart, to our deepest possibilities, to the power of love. It does this not in the language of transcendence — not in new-ageisms and glossy truths — but with down-to-earth writing about people’s lives, their sorrows and passions and fears. No less a magazine of feelings than one of ideas, The Sun speaks to who we really are, not who we sometimes think we are. Our lives are a mystery more subtle than words can tell, though words can hint at the mystery.
The Sun’s emphasis has never been solely on polished writing or literary reputation. Some of the people who write for the magazine are well-known; others are unknown. As editor, I’ll sometimes pick a story that’s a tad amateurish over one that's better crafted. So much “good” writing is soulless, thickening the heart with lies and sharpening the symbols of hate. The Sun favors writing — whether rough-around-the-edges or expertly styled — that embraces human contradictions, honors our inherent innocence, helps us awaken from our clouded dream of fear. It favors questions rather than answers. Not all our questions can be answered, and The Sun asks its readers to live with those questions. As Rainer Maria Rilke put it:
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Weaving together our stories, our visions, our hard-earned truths, The Sun reminds us that no single viewpoint, no one guru, no easy answer can possibly honor us as much as our own searching. We live the questions. We smile ruefully, knowing there’s a basic unity to all things, but that we can’t name it without distorting and diminishing what it is. So we find other ways to express it: words that point the way (since we know we’ll be on this path a long, long time); words that hint and puzzle and delight; words that let us glimpse, as if from a distance, who we really are; words in an odd and lovely little magazine.
Here, from the first ten years of The Sun, are some of the best of them.
Editor, The Sun
by John Rosenthal | March 1983
A few years ago, on a cool Fall afternoon in Central Park, I sat down at a bench and watched an odd man playing the drums. He was playing on the lip of a tall waste-basket, drumsticks in his hand.
by Sparrow | June 1983
MY PARENTS’ FRIEND, Joe Gottchauk, took a picture of them soon after they were married. (My father was just a little older than I am now, my mother younger than my sister.) They’re sitting on a couch in a room with just one light, looking together at a book. Their heads are turned down, but you can see my father’s sensitive sailor’s face and my mother’s shy farmgirl face. My mother’s hair is long and loose, as I’ve never seen it in my life, and there is about the photograph a strong feeling of romantic love.
by Hal Daniel | April 1984
For every dead armadillo we see between here and New Orleans there are two, maybe three, standing behind the chain fence. They stare, claws hooked in the links, at their brothers and sisters who have been crushed by the radials of the interstate. Their bicameral brains understand some armadillos die so others may live. The survivors cogitate their own existence when they see their kin smashed. They stare through the early morning fog with topaz eyes. The images they see stay within their now wise minds. They pass on the DON’T GET RUN OVER ON INTERSTATE 59 gene to their baby armadillos. The armadillos that get run over don’t pass on anything but a death smell. Those that watch the splats in the pea soup pass on something worthwhile to their offspring — the PEARL RIVER SURVIVAL gene and that’s what it’s all about. The same goes for cats, dogs, and raccoons. I’m not sure about possums and squirrels. Even stupid fish getting ripped into the air leave behind some bright school mates and memories. Here’s Lake Pontchartrain.