I like this typewriter. My friend Jeff Beame gave it to me. It’s an Underwood. The stylish metal insignia on the carriage says “UNDERWOOD — Speeds The World’s Business.” (What the world’s business is, it doesn’t say.) Like my 20-year-old Rambler, it’s comfortingly old-fashioned: boxy and boring and built to last.

I like that; I want to last, too. I guess I’m getting more conservative. What seemed like a good idea ten years ago still does — only now I don’t want to do something just because it’s a good idea. Like selling the religious life. Like working up a sweat working on myself. Like living poised on the edge of discovery — the Big Deal approach to life.

I like myself more. Not always: in a black enough mood, I’ll tear myself down and piss on the rubble. Who knows better what to despise? But who knows better what to love? Sitting in front of the fan, smoking a pipe and drinking coffee, putting down what “comes to mind,” I’m seemingly serving neither revolution nor guru, but it’s as close to enlightenment as I come.

I like this magazine — its strengths and weaknesses, some of them mine, some of them having little to do with me. It’s changed, too. In its sixth year of publication, it’s more handsome, more readable, but one thing hasn’t changed: our studious avoidance of labelling ourselves, of painting ourselves into an ideological corner — not in order to be more popular or successful, but in order to be. There are many party lines, not only political but literary and spiritual. Being independent isn’t easy. But oh, the fringe benefits.

I want THE SUN to last. What seemed like a good idea more than five years ago still does — and a growing number of readers around the country seem to share that conviction.

If you do too, subscribe. It’s essential that people subscribe to the magazine if it’s going to survive. If you already subscribe, think about giving a gift subscription. It’s a gift that you know will be appreciated by someone who shares your concerns and sensitivities — and perhaps by someone who doesn’t. It might be a way of explaining who you are. We’ll send a gift card and begin the subscription with the next issue.

There’s another way to participate in THE SUN. Send us your writings, your drawings, your photographs. We depend on unsolicited material to fill each issue. Pass the word around.

And I’ll pass the hat. I’ve gotten used to asking for help. It’s as natural as paying the rent. Small, non-profit, independent journals ought to be on somebody’s endangered species list. If you can give or loan us some money, call me at (919) 942-5282 or write me at THE SUN, 412 W. Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514. To those of you who already have, a deepfelt thanks.

— Sy