One of the hardest struggles I have with prison living is information gathering. Specifically, the stuff I want to entertain and inspire myself with. Often times a new book or a good read is only known through televised news cycles or the occasional inmate who gets a newspaper with a book list. These lists carry only a small blurb about what the book truly is. Sometimes a new guy shows up with something good to say about something he read. This is the essential “learning by word of mouth”. Since I’ve been in prison, The New York Times and USA Today have had the greatest bestseller lists, which is awesome, but I don’t always know good details. Magazines aren’t always the easiest to come by either, like it would be at a news stand.

However, some of the greatest writings I’ve ever read have been essays about the human condition and not a thick novel (I’m not discounting a collection of essays in a thick book, but I don’t always know that based on the information I get). Many of these types of essays simply aren’t available because I just don’t always know where to look. And damn this situation of no-readily-accessible internet to resource such things! Que the music, in walks my freind Marshall “Heck Yeah!” Byers…

Marshall knocked on my door with a smile to let me read a copy of The Sun. He had been boasting about the beautiful human experiences wrapped in the pages of this publication for a month or more. In prison, seeing the world is so important and this magazine gives so much heart and soul to viewing the world in a variety of perspectives. I’ve read it’s essays on nature and culture and people, even some great poetry, all written by seemingly pretty regular folks seeing the world in brilliant and compelling perspectives. I value this because I value seeing the world through regular people’s eyes. 

One day, I will be that regular folk with a regular life and I need to be reminded of how to dream and tell people about it. I like to be encouraged about feeling the world through small human experiences, like the one these writers write about. The small essays speak right to the heart of humanity. The Sun Magazine is a great way to connect to a world far beyond prison with people I don’t know, and with the help of a dear friend, I’ve had a chance to…

by Rory Andes

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