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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Selling Out

I’ve started wearing a tie. To anyone who’s known me for the past fifteen years, this is highly improbable, as if I’d started wearing a dress. I didn’t even have a tie until recently, but I’ve been buying them at the Thrift Shop, for fifty cents each — modest, conservative ties. I’m not dressing as a clown. I’m trying to look like a businessman.

When The War-Father Appears

i can see the worst all right — the earth exploding in some climactic chain reaction and all of us going off sparking out at the same time and i think i am going to like it if it happens that way after all we’ll be learning something together something massive that we’ve been trying to understand for a while and in that final sparking and arcing of the earth’s blow-up we’ll finally get it we’ll understand

Pennies From Grandma

Best of all were the birds. . . . How there could have been so many, how there could have been such color in the midst of Bristol, I do not know; or even what part of the image after more than thirty years is factual. Memory becomes reality, and it is magic to me.

Telling Time

We rent a condominium together, my eighty-six-year-old widowed mother and I. Sometimes she summons me from her bedroom at the end of the hall. I have learned to guess from her tone what it is she wants.

The Twelve-Hour Shift

I was home on fall break in my final year at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and I needed money to pay tuition, so I was working a twelve-hour shift with my father at the ceiling-tile factory.

Dragon Pants

In 2001 I was twenty-four years old and visiting Paris when I bought a really great pair of pants. They were red and silky and had dragons and Chinese symbols embossed on them and cost only sixty francs, which wasn’t a lot, about eleven dollars. I bought them on the street from some hippie Romanian woman. (I don’t actually know where she was from, but she seemed Romanian.)

As If To Say

If I need to ask my father a question, I ask my mother. I’ve always done this, to get around the fact that he and I hardly speak. It’s not that we have nothing to say. We just don’t know how to say it. He doesn’t speak English very well, and I don’t speak Spanish very well, so neither of us is even going to try.

Time Out

I start the day with coffee again. Or did I start it when I opened my eyes? When I stopped dreaming? When my daughter started her day, and began to cry? My wife is out of bed and across the room in one fluid motion, returning with Mara in her arms, and the three of us lie in the bed Mara was born in, just a year ago. Not a bed, really, just a foam mattress on the floor — but our bed, as this house is our home, these movements a morning, these days a life, our lives the pivot of creation, turning the raw stuff of the cosmos into a bed, a home.

The Anxious Wrestler

A Zen Story Of Psychotherapy

Nothing remained in the temple — except the mighty ocean rising and falling, and surging onward in its cycles. This was the sole reality. The temple itself disappeared. There was only the ocean, and the wrestler himself was the ocean.