July 1997

Readers Write

Pills

Pink laundry, kidney stones, tapeworms

By Our Readers
Quotations

Sunbeams

Today in America — and every day in America — seventy-six million Valium will be swallowed. In addition, some thirty million people will glue themselves to soap operas on television. It would seem that our culture is not well adapted to deal with pain.

Matthew Fox

The Sun Interview

The Plants Respond

An Interview With Cleve Backster

At thirteen minutes, fifty-five seconds chart time, the thought entered my mind to burn the leaf. I didn’t verbalize the idea; I didn’t touch the plant; I didn’t touch the equipment. Yet the plant went wild. The pen jumped right off the top of the chart. The only thing it could have been reacting to was the mental image.

By Derrick Jensen
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Sources Of Nourishment

All week long at my job I’ve been telling people to eat. I’m supposed to be counseling them about HIV, talking about condoms and the needle-exchange program, but instead I find my eyes drawn to the hollows of their collarbones, to the sticks of their wrists and elbows, and I ask them when they last ate.

By Alison Luterman
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Which Way To Siloam?

I turned my head to look at the woman on the bed to my left, and felt a jolt of shock. Carlos was bent over her and, with two hands, stretching apart the skin over her stomach. A tumor the size of a cantaloupe was slowly extruding through the opening, and the woman had raised her head to stare at the thing in amazement.

By Blaize Clement
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Gray Rain At Graceland

So I’m surprised at the thrill I feel as I pull into the Graceland complex. Even in this chilly rain, with just a smattering of tourists; even in this atmosphere of shameless commercial necrophilia; even so, there really is that odd elation Paul Simon captured: “I’ve reason to believe we all will be received in Graceland. . . . There’s some part of me wants to see Graceland.”

By Michael Ventura
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Ode To A Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitor

The last time I went to my psychiatrist’s office, he asked me how I felt. I said that with the pills he was giving me, I felt as happy as a clam.

By Lorenzo Wilson Milam
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Nothing Moved Except His Eyes

It was late November, and I was visiting my parents. Dad was asleep in a rented hospital bed in my sister’s old room; he was dying of lung cancer. Mom and I talked over coffee at the kitchen table.

By Sandy Gerling
Fiction

My Father Swims Away

As my mother’s coffin was lowered into the ground, my father whispered to me out of the side of his mouth, “Spike, who’s in there?”

By Corey Fischer