0 Items

The Sun Magazine

Culture and Society

Vocation

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

After All This Is Over

We got dressed up to go to the courthouse. It was strange to be out of school, and even stranger to be heading off to appear before a judge to prove that our family was broke, but our mother insisted we kids come along. My brother and I sported polyester suit coats handed down from our cousins in Terre Haute, and the girls wore the same dresses they had worn for our grandparents’ funerals.

Sy Safransky's Notebook

April 2010

I read that there’s enough lead in the average pencil to write fifty thousand words. Does that mean the words are in the lead? Of course not. Are the words in my head? Just where are they, those fifty thousand words?

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Burning

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.

Essays, Memoirs, and 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.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Confessions From A Conversion Van

The owner of the sports bar knows I sleep in the parking lot on weeknights. He doesn’t seem to mind. I’m a curiosity — the homeless professor. He thinks I must be one of a kind, but I’m not so sure. Anyway, I’m not even a professor. More like an adjunct instructor. I’d move closer to work, but I could never afford to live in Martinsburg now that it’s becoming a D.C. bedroom community.

Fiction

The Maluksuk

Go-boy made a knife for his girlfriend. He called it an ulu, and I had never seen anything like it before. The ulu was an Eskimo fish-cutting knife. It was about the size and shape of the bill on a Lakers cap. When Go showed me how an ulu was used, he held its handle and carved up the air with card-dealing slashes. He said Eskimos never wasted any meat because of this knife.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

You, All Of You

His palsied hands shiver as he twists the fishing line one, two, three, four times around, then threads it through. He pulls the tangle of line tight and drops the blue-silver lure. It swings between us. “That’s a fisherman’s knot,” Pa Peters tells me, and he chuckles and pushes his thick glasses up the bridge of his bent nose. “That’s how you do it.”

Fiction

This Late Hour

She stopped taking the medicines when it had become clear they were no longer of any use. They had crowded her dreams with demons and angels from some nocturnal Disneyland. Now that she was done with them, her dreams were her own.

Photography

The Long Haul

At Vicky’s invitation I accompanied her on a weeklong route. When I arrived with all my camera equipment, Vicky laughed. “Girl, I can’t believe how much you packed.” After loading the cab, Vicky made sure her cat Simba was curled safely on the bunk, and the three of us headed out.