April 1992

Readers Write

Close Calls

Getting mugged in Central Park, doing angel dust, driving into a telephone pole

By Our Readers
Quotations

Sunbeams

He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will revolutionize the world.

Benjamin Franklin

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Auntie Barba

In early times, divine guidance came through prophets, but for today’s fast-paced and multidenominational world, the most direct and democratic means of communion is the unpretentious fortune cookie. Remember that our Universal Source has a sense of humor. It was Voltaire who remarked that God is a comedian playing to an audience that’s afraid to laugh.

By Auntie Barba
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

A Device To Save My Life

From the inside cover of this particular book, an ad jumped out at me. I immediately knew that it would deliver me from my own enemies, most prominent among them Herr Schneider, my swimming instructor, who gave meaning to his life by ridiculing me in front of my classmates.

By Manfred Miethe
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Notes From The Closet

I’m also a fag. Which means that I regard my accomplishments and abilities and virtues with considerable irony. Not because I think any less of myself in the abstract, but because I know how little my accomplishments and abilities and virtues protect me from self-doubt.

By Jake Gaskins
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Drowning

At the age of two, I saw the ocean for the first time. I threw wide my short arms and ran shouting, straight into the Pacific, where an undertow reached out to embrace me. I still remember the upside-down whirlpool of warmth, like the womb out of which I’d so recently swum.

By Brenda Peterson
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Reopening The Wound

Reflections On Oliver Stone’s JFK

I’ve never been as strongly affected by a movie as I was by Oliver Stone’s JFK. Although Stone takes artistic liberties in weaving together the disturbing facts surrounding Kennedy’s assassination and its subsequent investigation, I found his central thesis — that Kennedy’s death was part of a well-orchestrated plot reaching into the highest levels of our government — not only plausible, but compelling.

By John Welwood
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Games People Play

Yet even the oppressed oppress one another — hoarding just a little, worrying more about their kids than those next door. The illusion of separateness is a game played by rich and poor alike: the game that I’m in here, you’re in there; that these bodies are separate nations.

By Sy Safransky
Fiction

The Value Of Trees

The Pacific crashes into mountains here, with no introductory foothills, few beaches. Highway 1, the only north-west road in Big Sur, dips and swerves like a roller coaster. First you’re flying up in the redwoods, breathing eucalyptus and fog; straight below are tiny coves and river mouths. It’s a descent you feel in your stomach. Then you’re skimming along the beach under a kaleidoscope of sea gulls.

By Gillian Kendall
Fiction

A Rescue

I pushed myself back against the rock and felt around for a handhold. When I finally got myself anchored and half turned around, the first thing I spotted, not two feet from my face, was the shoe of Manny Spaggot: one dirty old sneaker all by itself upside down on the ledge.

By Robyn Oughton