I originally titled my blog “Saved By Words” for a variety of reasons, but among them was an understanding that reading often kept me sane. I have gratitude today for two publications to which I subscribe. One is The Sun, a monthly magazine. The other is Plough Quarterly. Both have strong on-line presences, and it appears that you can read quite a bit of each on line without a subscription. The Sun is free of advertising. Plough Quarterly has announcements of books and conferences, but no commercial advertisements.
A friend at the gym recommended The Sun to me because it features an intriguing variety of thoughtful essays, poems, fiction and contributions from readers around the world. Each issue announces the topic for the next several issues, soliciting short pieces from readers. For instance, this month’s readers reflected on “The Mall.” I enjoy all of the writing in the magazine. One particularly strong piece this month recounted the experience of a woman whose baby died before birth. Restrained and powerfully moving, it is a piece which will stay with me for a long time.
I am not sure how Plough Quarterly got my name and solicited a subscription. (I often wonder who exchanges mailing lists with whom.) At any rate it was a good move on their part. This magazine comes from a Bruderhof community in upstate New York. The members of this Christian pacifist intentional community attempt to live out the Gospel in all aspects of their lives. The magazine presents challenging articles focused around a common topic. This quarter’s focus is on vocation. The quality of the issue, both in its art, its design, its writing and its ecumenical reach puts most other magazines to shame.
I am thankful that amidst all the garbage both on the air, on television, and in print, I have found company in the words of others. Both magazines are saving presences in my life right now.