Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"Enlightenment is a Bitch"

Day 22 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project.

Kim is reading The Sun, issue 411, March 2010, as am I, because it arrived in the mail this past week.

The Sun is a wonderful print magazine published by Sy Safransky in Chapel Hill, NC, that has no advertisements* and relies entirely on your subscriptions for its survival, so please consider reading and subscribing! I got hooked on The Sun when Kim sent me a gift subscription one year for Christmas. (Plus, I should say I am also now hooked on Kim's blog, Hummus Anonymous!)

She drew my attention to the first poem in this month's issue, "Enlightenment is a Bitch," by Dane Cervine, a writer, guitar player, and Tarot reader in Santa Cruz County, CA, by saying she wished she had written it!! It is indeed a delightful, wise, and funny poem. It resonates for me alongside Molly Peacock's poem, "Why I Am Not a Buddhist," and a moment in Clay's Quilt by Silas House, when the drunken Anneth insists that everybody wake up and look at the moon!

I know Kim was just reading Clay's Quilt because we are in the same book group, and because she just turned it back in at the library on Saturday (via the Jewel book drop-off), and I was able to check it out on Monday, thanks to the nice woman at the circulation desk who went down to the carts in the basement to retrieve it for me. I love living in a small town! So now, finally, I am reading Clay's Quilt, a week before we discuss it. (Note to self: remember the hush puppies!)

Rumi had his friend Shams. I have my friend Kim, having parallel reading experiences with me and enlightening me to the joys of hummus! Ah, life is good.

I should pause to say that Kim and I don't have exactly the same kind of relationship as Rumi and Shams may have had, and that I will be back soon with a blog entry on gay lit, about which I know next to nothing, but, fortunately, I have the comments of a friend to share with you.

In the same issue of The Sun is the poem "Turning Fifty," by Paul Hostovsky, one of my favorite poets from my days as a poetry editor! This poem, too, is wise and delightful. Seek it out. How can you resist a man whose contributor bio reads, "On his daily commute he reads Braille with his right hand while steering with his left." Although I am a little scared about this...preferring hands-free devices, no texting or cell phones while driving, etc. Plus, is the right hand supposed to know what the left hand is doing? At any rate, I love the poems of Paul Hostovsky.

And while we are at this enlightenment business, Douglas is reading Be Here Now by Ram Dass.

The Ram Dass book no doubt connects to some aspects of the interview with Tim Farrington in this same issue of The Sun. D. Patrick Miller has conducted the interview in the article "Till Morning Comes: Tim Farrington on Creativity, Depression, and The Dark Night of the Soul," and, if you are a regular follower of my blog since its inception--that is, if you are Kim--you may recall my recent mention of The Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross, who wrote it in prison. It is a poem, and a love poem at that, followed by the saint's own explication, pertinent to nuns, monks, and all spiritual seekers. I read it in the excellent translation by Mirabai Starr. (Amazon calls her Mirabel, but she's Mirabai.)

St. John of the Cross, Tim Farrington, and Dane Cervine all seem to agree that "enlightenment is a bitch" in its "dark night" or depression stage, which is, as Farrington says, a sort of fever that heats the body to heal it. Farrington also notes, as might Ram Dass, that the "stages" are not really progressive or linear but simultaneous.

Have I mentioned that I don't really believe in linear time? If you are Kim, you know I have!

*But The Sun is advertising a Job Opening for a digital-media director on p. 3 and at their website! So if you are digital and in need of a job, hey, go there!

So, what print magazines do you read regularly? News magazines, literary magazines, general interest magazines, special interest magazines...and why?!


Bruce said...

I read all sorts of magazines, having been in the magazine business. My favorite is The Economist. It is brilliant. I once had lunch with a former president of Newsweek, and I said, "he Economist is the best news magazine," and he came back with, "The Economist is the only news magazine." He was referring to the fact that news magazines have evolved to focus less on news and more on celebs and the like. Plus, The Economist has a great sense of humor. I speak about the magazine like it is a "person" but that's because there are no bylines and no masthead. It is as if it were one magazine from one mind and not from hundreds of journalists.

In addition, I love New Scientist. It's not technical and I learn so much from it. And the best health magazine is Life Extension, which applies science to the issue of longevity.


D. Patrick Miller said...

Thanks for your mention of my interview with Tim Farrington in THE SUN, to which I was alerted by my "Google Alerts". Seeing that you're a poet and no doubt have poet friends, take note of the Fearless Poetry Series that I co-edit, at

and another vote here for New Scientist, BTW.

D. Patrick Miller
Fearless Books

Kathleen said...

How lovely to hear from you, D. Patrick Miller! I will check the Fearless Poetry series for sure, and all the Fearless Books! And I hope my fearless blog followers (all 12 of them) will do the same!

My boss gets Google alerts, too. But I remain fearless!