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Selections from the January issue
The Sun Magazine | January 2012

The Sun Interview

Oh Baby: Ina May Gaskin On The Medicalization Of Birth
“We have come to believe that our human bodies are not as well designed for birth as other mammals’ are. Really it’s our brains that can pose problems: we alone among mammals have the ability to scare and confuse ourselves about birth.”
By Pat MacEnulty

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The black-eye blues
By Joe Wilkins

Hold Everything Lightly And Nothing Will Hurt Us
Falling for a monk
By Heather Kirn Lanier

A Country Where You Once Lived
Life after sex?
By Sheryl St. Germain


I Just Died
“Maybe I’ve been brought to this glamourless public library for a Cosmically Significant Reason. Maybe my dread is merely the overture before a more expansive feeling of rightness that awaits me if I venture farther into this harshly lit temple of knowledge.”
By Evan James


By John Bargowski

Readers Write

Navigating a hoarder’s house, packing up a classroom, surviving solitary confinement
Personal stories by our readers


Sy Safransky’s Notebook
“It took twice as long as I thought it would, and it’s only half as good as I’d hoped, but the first draft of my book is finished. This morning our cat Zooey walked across my desk and vomited on the manuscript. My first bad review.”

“Envy the kangaroo. That pouch setup is extraordinary; the baby crawls out of the womb when it is about two inches long, gets into the pouch, and proceeds to mature. I’d have a baby if it would develop in my handbag.”

Rita Rudner

Favorite from the archive

The Drunkard’s Gait
Essay by Ann M. Bauer
[April 2004]
“Sometimes I tell them my husband is dead. More often I say he’s working out of town. Or that he’s ill and in a hospital receiving treatment. None of these things is true. Or maybe one of them is. They all could be.” Read more

Recommended by Colleen Donfield, Sun manuscript editor
Why she likes it: “Living with an alcoholic tends to wise you up and slow you down in ways that others can’t imagine. Revisiting this essay in the cold light of January, I am reminded of the strength it takes to step off the carousel and move away alone. With clear-eyed compassion, Bauer tells us what happened when her husband just could not stop drinking. There isn’t just one rock bottom for this family; there are many. Redemption for the author and her children comes in the small things: routines of work and home, locking the doors against the dark, and keeping the phone lines open.”

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What bloggers are saying

An environmental-studies student in Montana responds to “The Leap,” a poem by Larry Colker [March 2008]: “Perhaps . . . on the longest night of the year (and its surrounding holidays) we draw our loved ones close, set aside struggles and causes, and allow ourselves a bit of relaxation and unencumbered life.” [The Emerald Lens]

A journalist in Olympia, Washington, discusses The Sun in an essay about how blogs might integrate the personal and the political: “It takes a certain amount of psychological literacy to cultivate a healthy discussion that doesn’t devolve into self-indulgence.” [Olympia Views]

A writer in Virginia includes several Sun interviews in a list of her favorite writing from 2011: “The interviews that run in each issue of The Sun aren’t published in full online but . . . the excerpts are substantial enough that you should know if you need to go to the newsstand and get educated. (Just do it.)” [Longreads]

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Copyright ©2012, The Sun Publishing Company, Inc., 107 North Roberson Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.