| Outside magazine, January 1997|
Letters: Haitian Spell
Bob Shacochis's "There Must Be a God In Haiti" (November) was the best thing I've read about the battered Caribbean nation. Having studied its music, dance, and a bit of voodoo, as well as sponsoring a child in Jacmel, I consider myself a Haitiophile, though I've never been there. Shacochis's enthusiasm for the beauty of the land, the sweet nature of the people, and the awful realities of their lives inspire me to visit Haiti no matter how chaotic it may be.
Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts
Thanks for the meaningful story about this widely criticized but little-known place. Shacochis's extensive experience in Haiti has provided him with a compassion for its people that shines through in his words.
Slogging Toward Martyrdom
There is more to Sri Chinmoy than meets Devon Jackson's cynical eye in "Bless You, Sir, May I Jog Another?" (October). As the former race director of Chinmoy's marathon team, perhaps I can offer some balance to the subject. While much in the article is true, it is quite obvious that Jackson came to his subject with an ax to grind. To describe Chinmoy's races as "slog-a-thons" is not only inaccurate, but an insult to the world-class athletes who run their hearts out at these events. Also, Jackson's reference to Ashrita Furman as the "clown prince of Chinmoy's odd kingdom" is low. He's not only one of the fittest people in America, but also an extremely decent human being. I ask you to consider whether Chinmoy's "odd kingdom" is any odder than the daily world of pain, poverty, and corporate greed in which we all live. As for Chinmoy himself, I disagree with aspects of his teaching, but he's a compassionate person who doesn't deserve such a mean-spirited article.
Woodstock, New York
Gidget Gets Fan Mail
Thanks for the great portrait of Lisa Andersen ("Gidget Kicks Ass," November), a talented and determined woman who has the ability to ride powerful surges of water with subtle grace. Andersen is strong enough to survive both the sexism and territoriality so prevalent in the sport. She's a role model for male and female surfers alike.
I was very inspired by your article on Lisa Andersen. As a 13-year-old surfer, I used to always worry about having the baggiest shorts and the hippest sunglasses, but Andersen has shown me how to go against the current and let all distractions fall to the wayside. She's focused on her family and home rather than complaining, as most surfers do, about money and publicity. Andersen helps me to try my hardest and just surf.
Arden, North Carolina
I read Outside for its clear, crisp, and insightful writing, not for the bikini-clad woman who graced your October cover. If you continue to opt for eye-catching babes rather than beautiful scenery, it will be awfully sad.
Athol, New York
Lead Me Not Into Publicity
I would like a chance to undo Weston Kosova's characterization of me in "Lead Us Not Into Titanium" (Dispatches, October). The real me isn't as exciting and newsworthy as the flock-leading, anti-tech messiah you made me out to be. I'm a 42-year-old husband, dad, and friend to my friends, who prefers simple, traditional bike stuff, which is why I started Rivendell. My world is dinky, my customers are special to me, and most of them are smarter than I am. They sure don't need me to be their "leader," as your story implies.
Rivendell Bicycle Works
Walnut Creek, California
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Copyright 1997, Outside magazine