A Family Album

To mark The Sun’s tenth anniversary, we sent postcards to everyone we could remember who had ever been involved with the magazine—at least everyone for whom we had an address—asking, “What are you doing now, and what does The Sun mean, or what has it meant, to you?”

I am presently living out of my car, and a heavy sleeping bag, to be near my kids in western Maryland. I work part time at Gar­rett Community College, but foresee moving to a city within a year or two.

Work in progress includes a book co­authored by Jorn Bramann, Gainful Unemployment, where we look at the positive possibilities of the unemployment crisis from both a personal and an analytic point of view. For my part, I take the idea of “unemploy­ment” as far as I can stretch it., and suggest through a personal narrative that any situa­tion which forces a person into self confronta­tion, self contact, is ultimately the ground for the most fruitful kind of work there is to do.

Also, I am writing a book on what I think it means to be religious, to be spiritual. This is particularly exciting to me, as it puts me on the edge.

Also just finished another children’s book (waiting for illustrations to be done) en­titled: No Peas and Carrots Till You Finish Your Ice Cream. Choice of Emptiness will come out in a second edition this fall or early winter.

My great hobby is acting; have been in two plays recently: Twelfth Night and Skin of our Teeth.

THE SUN continues to be the best magazine going. I smile to see it in my mail, and I feel proud to be a part of it. Last year I gave a gift subscription to a friend of mine who died this fall. Sy, it was a great help to her—for one thing it led her to Stephen Levine’s Who Dies?, which became a great companion. I read it thoroughly, sometimes underlining, and I feel I know you through its pages. It is only through extreme financial poverty that I haven’t resubscribed recently, but now I am able to do so and enclose my check.

Jim Ralston
McHenry, Maryland

P.S. Forgot to mention I won a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to study at Yale last summer. The seminar was entitled, “Freedom and the Religious Per­sonality.” The experience was remarkable in many ways, but a very wonderful thing hap­pened to me right at the end. A fifteen, twenty year ambivalence fell off my back, as I realized that I was an outsider—and that was my rightful place to be, that was the true home of my soul, working on the outside. This realization has made a lot of difference for me—to move quietly to the outside, without rebellion, without anger—knowing that those who work on the inside are equally im­portant in the scheme of things. My home now is my work, my relationships, nature ­all fluid, and the secret of my inner self on ‘ which I rest, on which I float.

Jim Ralston’s book Choice of Emptiness was ex­cerpted in Issue 86.

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