Posted by: poet kate hutchinson | May 17, 2014

A Fan of The Sun (magazine)

the sunAnyone who has a little of the hippie inside should know about The Sun, a progressive lit. mag. founded in the ’70’s by a guy in his tiny apartment in Chapel Hill.  It’s still going strong and still ad-free . . . and it’s now also online (   Only a few pieces are included in the online version, though, so to get it in all its black-and-white glory, full of photos, stories, essays, poems, and interviews, you must subscribe.  I’ve pared down my subscriptions to print magazines lately, but I’ll not give up The Sun.  I pass them along to my dad when I’m finished and have asked him to pass them on to someone else.  As a matter of fact, I first learned about The Sun years ago when my aunt passed a bunch of hers on to me.


family on beach


A favorite section in each themed issue is “Readers Write.”  People submit short essays related to the theme, and the Sun editors choose several, filling 5-6 pages in thin columns — pieces widely varying in tone, perspective, and levels of revelation.  Many are printed without names, being so confessional that they may cause problems for the writer should he or she be identified.  Many are submitted by prisoners or others who have had very hard lives.  Some are hilarious, some tragic.  Topics also vary widely, with upcoming issues including Family Vacations, Clothes, First Love, Holding On, and Doors.  Some of these have been repeated over the years because they invite such fascinating responses.

I’ve submitted several pieces over the last few years, and the new June issue contains my second accepted one.  The topic for this issue is Security.  Because tomorrow is my son’s birthday, I’ll post the story here in his honor — though I won’t let him read it.  Be warned:  it’s not hilarious.

This issue includes a long interview with Noam Chomsky and poetry by Wendell Berry.  Go grab a June issue of The Sun and read the rest!  Barnes & Noble carries it, as well as most independent bookstores.



man-dark-windowVisions of my son at middle age haunt me. I see him at fifty, paunchy and balding, alone in a little room in some last-chance Medicaid facility after his trust fund has run out. He is alone and confused and sad, both parents gone to a place he can’t grasp. His step-siblings and cousins rarely visit. His life consists of the same movies, TV shows and songs he’s loved since he was a boy. He struggles with numerous physical ailments and pain but can’t express his needs to his over-worked caregivers.





???????????????????????????????Today my son is 22, chatty, and charming, but his autism prevents him from driving, maintaining an active social life, or fully understanding how the world works.  No matter how much I love him and care for him while I am alive, and no matter how much money I save for the future, I will never rest easy with the thought that he will be safe or comfortable after I am gone, let alone happy. I can only work to build a network of support for him and hope it holds together. There is currently little to no help for adults with special needs in my state, and many neighborhoods still hold a “not in my back yard” attitude toward housing for the disabled, despite evidence that this special population poses no increased risk of harm to others than does the general citizenry.


house in fieldNo parent faces death with the certainty that their children’s lives will go on smoothly after they’ve gone, it’s true. But for those of us whose adult children are incapable of problem-solving or advocating for themselves, the anxiety can be overwhelming.




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