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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories


It begins two days before my thirtieth birthday in March, when I hear I have a summer job in Rhinebeck, New York, on the summer staff of the Omega Institute. As the spring ripens towards summer, my readiness to go snowballs into another plan: to use Omega as a departure point, no summer vacation, no three-month break from Chapel Hill, but an extended adventure, a search for new people, new places, challenges to meet on terms other than my own. In the calm of dusk and dawn, I know that I want to leave, as if forever.

Who Dies?

When we think of our death, we imagine ourselves surrounded by loving friends, the room filled with a serene quietude that comes from nothing more to say, all business finished; our eyes shining with love and with a whisper of profound wisdom as to the transiency of life, we settle back into the pillow, the last breath escaping like a vast “Ahh!” as we depart gently into the light.

Save The Last Dance For Me

Sunlight falls across the white page, the floor, the picture of Buddha carved from stone on a mountainside in Borobudur, Indonesia; fills the whole room with light and even a little warmth on this end-of-winter morning in Allston, Massachusetts. The pigeons sit, as usual, on the ledge of the red brick firehouse across the way. Through the window I can see a blue-uniformed fireman sweeping the floor. Sometimes, late at night, I’ve watched them play cards. Occasionally the bells sound, and their engines fill the streets with frenzy and purpose. Otherwise, they wait, like me and not unlike pigeons, for their chance to be useful to the world.


Some Joke, Huh?

My brother is weird. I never know what he’s going to do next. Like the time he decides around three o’clock on an August afternoon that he’s going to climb the Franklin Mountains. The Franklin Mountains cut through El Paso where we live but they’re real big, part of the Rocky Mountains. He was eight when he did that. My dad had to send the police out to look for him that night. They found him in a canyon clutching his leg where a century plant had stabbed it. When he was nine he built wings out of wood, covered them with newspaper, and was about to jump off the roof when ma walked out the back door. When he was ten I told him to quit swinging so crazily in this hammock we’d hung from the rafters in the garage. That made him mad so he swung harder. “You’re going to fall and break your head open,” I shouted.

Scribe Of The Imperial Memory

It is typhoon season in Japan. The wind rips raveningly at the grass roofs and scatters bales of hay across the fields. It buries the land beneath torrents and pools and knocks down the drenched passersby as they strive for home.

*NOTE: Original copies of this issue are no longer available. Unbound, laser-printed copies will be provided for print orders.

Readers Write

My Body

My body will turn 35 this summer. I think of 35 as the age at which you discover that all the while you’ve been thinking that you were breaking your body in, you find that all you were doing was breaking it down.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸


Anna was saying to herself: why do I always have this awful need to make other people see things as I do? It’s childish, why should they? What it amounts to is that I’m scared of being alone in what I feel.

Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

More Quotations ▸
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