Issue 273 | The Sun Magazine

September 1998

Readers Write

Getting Lost

An Appalachian Trail marker, a noodle shop, a white suit and matching fedora

By Our Readers


Economics and politics are the governing powers of life today, and that’s why everything is screwy.

Joseph Campbell

The Sun Interview

Enemy Of The State

An Interview With John Zerzan

I’m talking about time not existing. Time as a continuing thread that unravels in an endless progression, linking all events together while remaining independent of them — that doesn’t exist. Sequence exists. Rhythm exists. But not time. This reification of time is related to the notion of mass production and division of labor. Tick, tick, tick, as you said: Identical seconds. Identical people. Identical chores repeated endlessly. But when you realize that no two occurrences are identical, and that each moment is different from the moment before, time simply disappears. If events are always novel, then not only is routine impossible, but the notion of time is meaningless.

By Derrick Jensen
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Conspiracy And Apocalypse At The McDonald’s In Goodland, Kansas

I left Encinitas, California, on April 1, 1997, with five hundred dollars in traveler’s checks, four hundred dollars in twenty-dollar bills folded into the secret pocket of my jacket, and sixty dollars in my left-front pocket. I do this in case I get robbed. Spread your cash. If someone robs you, give him the smallest parcel. If the shithead persists, offer him the traveler’s checks. I have been robbed twice, once at knifepoint, once at gunpoint. No one ever wanted the traveler’s checks.

By Poe Ballantine
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Grace Of Great Things

Reclaiming The Sacred In Knowing, Teaching, And Learning

Community goes far beyond our face-to-face relationship with each other as human beings. In education especially, community connects us with what Rilke called “the grace of great things.” We are, in reality, in community with the genes and ecosystems of biology, the great questions of philosophy and theology, the archetypes of literature, the artifacts of anthropology, the materials of engineering, the logic of systems and management, the shapes and colors of art, the patterns of history, the elusive idea of justice under the law — we are in community with all these great things. Great teaching is about knowing and feeling that community, and then drawing your students into it.

By Parker J. Palmer

Floating On The Darkness

He had tried to take my mother away from me, to leave me all alone. How different everything would have been without her. Suddenly it seemed as if she had always been with me, even when I was by myself, like that long cord that keeps astronauts from floating off into oblivion when they leave the spaceship.

By Pat MacEnulty

What Miss Lena Prays For

Miss Lena goes into the dressing room, closes the folding three-way mirror, gets down on her knees, and prays. I wonder if she’s really praying for customers, as she tells me, or if she’s praying for bigger things, like peace in Yugoslavia, where she is from and which she calls Yugo, or maybe an end to homelessness. It seems to me you shouldn’t waste a prayer on attracting customers.

By Jessica Anya Blau

Photographs By Steve Ladner

These photographs are of people I met on the streets of New York City. The sidewalks were like a river where I cast my line, fishing faces out of the crowd. I used a portable cloth backdrop to isolate my subjects from the hustle and bustle of the city.