By conservative estimates, there are currently enough wrongfully convicted people in prison in the United States to fill a football stadium.
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Here, as everywhere, there are good days and bad.
The bad days: more bills than checks in the mail; some discouraging moment annexing the next moment and the next, whole hours slave to a mood — that we’re small and forgettable, not worth the price, or that we are but since so few people know of us what does it matter?
The good days: a few new subscriptions, maybe an encouraging letter, or an article that lifts the roof of the heart, reminding us why THE SUN is necessary — because what other magazines won’t touch we lovingly embrace, marvelling that someone was brave enough to say it, no matter what the ostensible subject or the length or whether the author is known. Our lives, not our names, are our signature; we know each other.
And so we continue, more good days than bad, weathering difficult seasons, poor farmers loving our land with a fierce love, this ground of belief that grows a magazine, a SUN, impossibly rich.
It’s hard work, and every so often we stop, wipe off the sweat, annex a shady spot, and dream: if only we had more advertisers, or distributors. . . . We chase the dreams, at great expense in money and time, doing what the more successful magazines do, but we’re not very good at selling ourselves. Perhaps we don’t know enough; perhaps it’s the economy; perhaps THE SUN is too challenging, or not challenging enough — who knows? We paint the road-side stand a different color, dress up sharp, and year after year about the same number of cars stop, the others go on by. And year after year we borrow money from our friends, or offer subscriptions at reduced rates, and while we’re thankful for the generous response, the next year we have to ask again.
Is there a way to change this? Maybe. Is it another dream? Perhaps. That depends on how important THE SUN is to each of you, whether you’ll take the time after reading this to help.
I’m not talking about the time it takes to reach for your checkbook; donations, though deeply appreciated, don’t address the predicament, which is that we don’t have enough subscribers. We exist for our subscribers and because of them. We can’t count on the would-be advertisers who rarely answer our letters or return our calls; or the bookstores uninterested in carrying yet another small magazine; or those who month after month read a friend’s copy of THE SUN, imagining they’re getting something for free, which they are — our labor. We exist because of our 1,200 subscribers but 1,200 aren’t enough. Between 2,000 and 3,000 subscribers would be a large enough family to meet family obligations: the bills, some modest salaries. There would still be bad days, but they’d be different: like listening to the rain on the roof instead of being out in the storm; we’d be home.
So, how do we double the number of subscribers? We honestly don’t know if we can — but on the eve of the magazine’s tenth anniversary, we’re going to try. And ask you to try, as if THE SUN belonged to you — which to some may sound naive, but it happens to be true.
First, consider who you know that would value the magazine, the diversity of voices in each issue in praise of the human mind and heart — exuberant choir, single haunting song, music not noise.
Then, consider helping in any of these ways: