I’ve logged more experience than most with simplicity and the complexity you discover inside simplicity, minimalism and asocial behavior, endurance and landscape.
Here is the truth: I think some deep wisdom inside me (a) sensed the stress, (b) was terrified for me, and (c) gave me something new and hard to focus on in order to prevent me from lapsing into a despair coma — and also to keep me from having a jelly jar of wine in my hand.
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Elizabeth Rose Campbell was the Assistant Editor for The Sun from 1976 to 1982. She lives in Carrboro, North Carolina.
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 like Ramona. I want to win the lottery, pay her brother back for the car, bounce her and the baby out of the attic apartment.
When I bought my first SUN, I was just out of journalism school, a promising graduate who never had the nerve to tell her teacher she did not believe at all in a separation between the perceiver and the perceived. As an emerging news reporter I was in big trouble. The discovery of THE SUN was enough persuasion for me to drop any plans to be honored in the halls of Howell, at the University of North Carolina — the second-ranked journalism school in the country.
The first time it happened, I was in Bible School in Weldon, North Carolina on the second floor of the Methodist Church educational building, listening to Dozen Pierce say that God knew how many hairs were on everybody’s head. I wondered if He knew why my stomach hurt.
Peering into each room of THE SUN, I look for what I want to carry with me, travel clothes for the psyche to wear to the next chapter, where I don’t know a soul, have had no previews.
“You can learn more from watching the animals than you can from a guru . . .or from reading my book. But first you must divest yourself of the idea that your creaturehood is suspect. Your humanness did not emerge by refusing your animal heritage, but upon an extension of what it is.”
Seth suggests that all deaths are suicides in a sense, as all life forms choose their time of death on subconscious levels. But the context in which we choose to die is as significant and inter-connected to whom we are becoming as the context in which we choose to live.
For all my love of coziness, homey simplicities, the friend on the phone, the cat crying at the door, good coffee and my own bed, travel lures me like a preacher to the promised land.
From the outside looking in, it appears that not only do I live alone, but I maintain a hermit’s existence, an ascetic’s search for bare basics, primitively situated in the middle of a heavily wooded forest, with no avenue of approach, no charming old road bed, nor a new one. There is only a dogpath, barely discernible in the daylight, which disappears entirely at dusk.
By early July, something has run its course. I have filled some quota of failure. Certain delusions have been dealt with, and I am glad. Now I know what not to do.
Cover by Elizabeth Rose Campbell
I was an infant, clinging to an umbilical cord, and the stark truth of this world was that there was no one to clutch, cling to, no one to reel me in, no one to rescue me but myself. So I clumsily conceived a new self, one that did not need to design an intellectual wall of insulation against this vacuum.