October 1981

Readers Write

The Best Advice I Ever Got

The best advice I ever got was from my maternal grandfather when he counselled me, “Never go partners on anything with anybody unless it’s a real big watermelon, and you’ve got the knife.” This same advice was echoed years later in a slightly different context by one of my first writing teachers who said, “Never collaborate with anyone, unless it’s God and He signs a release.” Though this same advice has been spoken and written in countless ways for centuries, it still took me a while before I finally realized that ultimately there can be no partnerships or collaborations. We are all the watermelon, and each of us must wield his own knife. Or, as the saying goes, “I ain’t much, baby, but I’m all I’ve got.”

By Our Readers


The necessary premise is that a man is somehow more than his “characteristics,” all the emotions, strivings, tastes and constructions which it pleases him to call “My Life.” We have ground to hope that a Life is something more than a cloud of particles, mere facticity. Go through what is comprehensible and you conclude that only the incomprehensible gives any light.

Saul Bellow, Herzog

The Sun Interview

From Somebody To Nobody To . . .

An Interview With Ram Dass

This is my third interview with Ram Dass. At our first meeting, in 1973, I was as tongue-tied and nervous as when I first called a girl for a date, except back then I asked my mother to write down what I should say, and this time I was on my own. I felt a strange mixture of exhilaration and relief when it was over; it’s exhausting to be with your hero.

By Sy Safransky
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Song For Itzhak

On Friday afternoon, May 25, 1979, a McDonnell-Douglas aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from O’Hare airport in Chicago. The crash, which killed 272 people, was the worst in the history of American commercial aviation. The plane burned for hours. Later, workers spent days collecting the parts of bodies strewn over the area. On its sudden arc of descent, the plane barely missed a trailer camp near the airfield. McDonnell-Douglas was implicated for gross neglect in maintenance of the DC-IO.

By Marilyn Bentov
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Moving With The People

A dim line of light appeared in the darkness beyond the window of the plane, along with some tiny flashes. As the line broadened, I realized that it was dawn, and the flashes were lightning. The line grew broader, up and down, until it reached the Indian Ocean far beneath us, and I searched in the gloom for the island of Sri Lanka. The sun was well up and the jet was descending when I saw the island, not as a speck in the distance, the way I had imagined, but as a detailed landscape right beneath us: coconut palms, huts made out of leaves, and dug-out fishing canoes on a smooth lagoon. We landed at Colombo Airport.

By Morris Earle, Jr.

O Marie, Çoncue Sans Pêché

On my calendar there aren’t any more social engagements or shrink appointments or movies to catch up on. It says here: “Monday. Get up. Eat. Floss teeth. Go to bed by 10:00.” The little sparrow who’s sharing my breakfast says, “Phew-twee. Pep. Pep. Pep. Pep,” and stuffs his beak full of bread, so that it’s hanging out both sides. “Don’t get choked,” I yell after him, but he’s long gone, chased by a friend.

By Kathleen Snipes

Wood Sculptures

There is a border between intention (the conscious effect of each curve or bend) and the more powerful energy that is just beyond direct reach of consciousness.

Wood Sculptures By Andy Fleishman | Photographs By John Rosenthal