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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Notes Toward A Journalism Of Consciousness

The normally unreflective world of American journalism found itself facing a harsh and unforgiving mirror last March, when The New Yorker printed a two-part feature entitled “The Journalist And The Murderer,” by staff writer Janet Malcolm. Her controversial essay began with this paragraph:

The Park This Week

This must be the utmost high point in the history of Tompkins Square Park,” I told Jim Brodie, coming back from a poetry reading three weeks ago.


Rose And Esther

She’d had so much sorrow in her life, it made for a happy old age. What more could happen? Her husband, a good man, struck down by his heart on the trolley on the way home from work. They brought his salami when they told her. A good man — always thinking of his family. So there she was, a widow with two children. She went to work for a caterer — weddings, bar mitzvahs. All the time on her feet. Her daughter married finally; her son went to California. Her daughter was settled, so she would take care of her, Esther thought. Then, her daughter’s husband had a stroke, he couldn’t move his legs, her daughter went to work in Filene’s basement. No word from the son in California; he had things to do, maybe.


Let’s have drinks,” Donna said. “What do your parents drink?”


Late on this November afternoon, Julia came in through the dim foyer of her own home and passed into its darkened interior. Across the living room, no red pinpoints glowed from the panel of the answering machine, yet she was sure she had turned it on. She had begun to walk toward it when she saw a shape in the darkness, and then the shape moved. Adrenalin stunned her as lights blazed and voices shrieked, “SURPRISE!”

*NOTE: Original copies of this issue are no longer available. Unbound, laser-printed copies will be provided for print orders.

Readers Write

The Telephone

It was 1957 and we lived on the edge of a small, quiet Wisconsin town of 307 persons. I hadn’t started school yet and had little contact with the world outside of the village and the fields surrounding it. Then one day the telephone came to our house. It was large and black and had a handle on the side. One crank on the handle and Mrs. Brown, the operator, came on the line saying, “Hello, who do you want to talk to?” We would say, “the Zwickeys” or “John’s store” or “the Nelsons,” and she would plug us into the switchboard to make the connection. Then, of course, she would more or less listen in so she could disconnect us when we were finished. There were several families on our line, and we each had a different ring. Ours was a long and a short; the Zwickeys’ was two shorts and a long. It was obvious when someone besides Mrs. Brown was on the line listening, because then the line had a funny hollow sound. In such a small town, everyone knew everyone else’s business. The phones just made it easier and a bit quicker.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook
Musings From Our Founder ▸


The most simple things in life are the most difficult things. just getting through a day well is not easy. The most difficult thing in life, I think, is living. I mean, really living. A lot of the time I’m in the present, and I’m thinking about the past or scheming about the future and missing every present moment, instead of actually partaking of the sacrament of every present moment. And that is the healing factor. . . .

R.D. Laing

More Quotations ▸
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