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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Drinking The Rain

After half a lifetime of adapting to the needs of others in the high tide of the family, here at fifty, with no one to ask or answer to, I’m beginning to see who I am when the tide goes out.

Everything I Thought Would Happen

In July 1971, my father’s heart exploded, and, faced with a comfortless, parent-snatching universe, I said to my husband, “We need to move out of this city. I’m afraid of becoming one of those assholes who wear aviator sunglasses and scream at cabdrivers.” In fact, I already was one of those assholes and had been for quite some time. Still, I was growing jumpy with life in Boston and uneasy with the hard edges I had gone to such trouble to get. My husband smiled mildly and agreed, then disagreed, and finally agreed again, and we set off for Iowa in our VW. He didn’t want to go and I didn’t care if he did or not, but we weren’t ready to face that yet.

Global Depression

Global depression, I could call it in clinical jargon to indicate the pervasive nature of the disorder in the psyche. But lately the term has taken on a new meaning for me, suggesting a worldwide malaise shaped by the unconscious link between our suffering and the wounds the earth itself sustains. It seems as if the degradation of nature has produced a dark, subliminal undertow affecting the collective psyche.

The Train To Westchester

When I was a child, raised less than twenty miles from Manhattan, the city was mysterious to me, and dangerous. It was the edge of the world from which some people accidentally — and sometimes not so accidentally — fell. I knew, for instance, the worst thing that could ever happen to a young boy like myself was to let go of his mother’s hand or the back of her coat in Macy’s, Penn Station, or the subway.

This Land Is Your Land

Not surprisingly, they resisted encroachments on their land, first by the Spanish, and later by Americans. Navajo raiding parties regularly made off with the settlers’ horses and livestock, but the Americans kept coming — encouraged by a government that believed in its “manifest destiny” to occupy the entire continent. Finally, in 1864, U.S. Army General George Carleton — who called the Navajos “wolves that run through the mountains” — ordered Colonel Kit Carson to get rid of them.

Fiction

Hats And Veils

Standing at a bus stop outside the Lindt chocolate factory, Vadim Abdich abruptly turned around, as though someone were behind him. On the dark, colorless Zurich Lake, white sails swelled with the wind, and the boats slid silently past fir trees on the shore — tranquil, hooded giants whose hairy arms spread downward as though they would embrace him.

Stories By Sparrow

I have discovered that by using a very long straw, I can drink soda from my neighbor’s apartment.

Oleander

Marie loved the sun so much, she got skin cancers from it, which she perversely believed only the sun would help. Doctors periodically scraped or burned the cancerous cells off her face and arms, leaving her to hole up in her trailer for weeks listening to the radio until they healed. She was supposed to be grateful just to be alive. Instead, she felt like a continuous ooze. Whiskey helped some, but nothing could make her accept the white, patchy scars she was left with.

Readers Write

The City

I arrived in Manhattan fresh out of school and immediately found myself a second-floor sublet in a lovely old brownstone (since demolished) on West Fifty-fourth Street. From the rooftop patio, I would listen to summer jazz concerts at the Museum of Modern Art a few doors down; I was perfectly blasé about my good fortune.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

The present is like a doomed princess, elegant and inexpressibly beautiful.

Robert Grudin

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