My favorite magazine is the Sun magazine. It has no advertisements, just stirring black and white photos and wonderful writing. Some people think it is depressing because a lot of the writing is about difficult truths, but I think what people are responding to when they think that is the quietness of the magazine. Since there is no advertising blasting at you, and no color, it has more stillness, and sometimes stillness is unnerving in our frantic world.
The Readers Write section is always where I go (and probably where everyone goes) first. A few topics for upcoming issues are listed and people can write in with their stories around those topics. This month’s topic is Good Friends. Upcoming deadlines are: Rivals—April 1; Telling the Truth—May 1; Airports—June 1; Getting Ready—July 1; Fame and Fortune—August 1; and Parties—September 1. The rest of the magazine is devoted to articles, both fiction and nonfiction, poetry and an interview. This month there is an article written by a guy who taught US history in Syria. His sarcastic style communicated the fear and surprise he had of Damascus, and the love he came to have for the place and its people, in spite of the things that made him nervous. The Sun is about true moments, and often those come with wackiness, embarrassment, fear or grief. Above is a photo Scott took that was on the cover of the Sun one month.
You can even read the magazine online via pdfs with intact formatting, but it is really nicer to read it on paper. (Like dailylit.com, reading online can be a great catalyst to start in–I’m now enjoying Anna Karenina in actual book format thanks to dailylit unwittingly introducing me to the beauty of the Russian authors–see post below on Dostoevsky)
The miracle is that this magazine exists at all. Started in 1974 by an idealistic young writer, the Sun remains idealistic, and even though it is constantly assaulted on all sides to carry advertising, the editor/founder refuses. When the Sun arrives in the mailbox, I know that very soon, possibly even in minutes, I will be in a still, quiet, friendly place, hearing stories from people like me who are noticing the strange details of life.