Issue 411 | The Sun Magazine

March 2010

Readers Write

Walking Home

The constellation Orion, driving lessons, 143.5 miles

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
The Silver Chair

The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.

By C.S. Lewis
Sy Safransky's Notebook

March 2010

Soon I’ll celebrate another birthday. It’s too bad the earth doesn’t have a real birthday. It might remind us that the planet had a beginning and — as it circles a medium-sized star whose days are numbered, too — is moving inexorably toward its end.

By Sy Safransky


Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called “mad” and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called “writers” and they do pretty much the same thing.

Meg Chittenden

The Sun Interview

Till Morning Comes

Tim Farrington On Creativity, Depression, And The Dark Night Of The Soul

There is no question in my own mind that periods of depression are often associated with artistically productive periods. Breakthroughs in creative work usually come when the tried-and-true approaches fail. We are looking for a new method, because the old methods aren’t working, and so there is the fear of not knowing what to do, of going beyond familiar territory. Creativity often flourishes in a state of uncertainty that approaches desperation. There is a sense of helplessness as well, and a sharp awareness of needing something that you don’t have. The breakdown of certainties is also fertile breeding ground for depression.

By D. Patrick Miller
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


A human body on fire on a quiet street in a safe European city is a scene your mind is remarkably unequipped to comprehend. You see it first through the clear back panel of the bus-stop shelter as you get off the bus: Just a pile of something burning. Much bigger than a campfire. Perhaps a bonfire to keep the homeless warm.

By Jonathan Kime
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

You Always Call On A Sunday

You are not ashamed. You are stunned: By this new thing that he left behind, that spread through you like blood in those hours he was with you. By how easy it is to die.

By Jackie Shannon Hollis
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

A Figure In Black And Gray

What they all have in common is a weakness: an inability to say no to a deeply imprinted call — a call to poverty, chastity, and obedience, strange virtues that had to be flushed out from their hiding places, shown to us, and somehow made desirable. We’re men who, for the most part, had good jobs and degrees but were brought low by something many of us hadn’t really asked for, and to which we all eventually yielded. In the end concession and surrender may be our greatest accomplishments.

By Joe Hoover

The 100-To-1 Club

The sun has never felt as good as it does when I finally step out of that jailhouse and into a beautiful Friday morning, the air smelling a little like jasmine, a little like the ocean; happy weekend smiles on all the faces in the windows of a passing bus; and the mountains sitting right there, like they sometimes do, looking close enough to touch.

By Richard Lange

Artists At Work

Kalischer documented the arrival of Holocaust refugees to the U.S. in the late 1940s, and over the next several decades he traveled throughout Europe and the U.S. capturing everyday scenes from people’s lives. The images on these pages depict art students and artists in New England and New York from the 1950s through the 1980s.

By Clemens Kalischer

Turning Fifty

It was a beautiful day, rainy-gray, foggy, dismal, perfect. / I was so happy because there was nothing to do / and nowhere to go and no one to meet, and never / in my life had I felt so empty and so full.

By Paul Hostovsky

Enlightenment Is A Bitch

At first it isn’t so bad — a taste of ecstasy, / the world covered in honey. Even snails / scrawl the names of buddhas with their silvery trails.

By Dane Cervine