With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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Ken Klonsky recently retired from teaching and is the author of a book of short stories about troubled young people titled Songs of Aging Children (Arsenal Pulp Press). He lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
When you spend a great deal of time in darkness, in solitary confinement, where everything blends into one, if you’re fortunate, you’ll begin to see things more vividly than you’ve ever seen them before. It may take days, weeks, months, years, but you’ll begin to see things as they really are. You’ll begin to see yourself as you have never seen yourself before. Because when you can’t see outside, you can only look inside.
This month marks The Sun’s twenty-fifth anniversary. As the deadline for the January issue approached — and passed — we were still debating how to commemorate the occasion in print. We didn’t want to waste space on self-congratulation, but we also didn’t think we should let the moment pass unnoticed. At the eleventh hour, we came up with an idea: we would invite longtime contributors and current and former staff members to send us their thoughts, recollections, and anecdotes about The Sun. Maybe we would get enough to fill a few pages.
What we got was enough to fill the entire magazine.
Though we haven’t devoted the whole issue to the anniversary, we have allowed the section to grow beyond our original plans. After seeing the pieces, we felt that our readers would enjoy them as much as we did — for the information about the magazine’s history, for the glimpses into the writers’ lives, and (not least) for the quality of the writing.
My mother is seated in the shade of the balcony of her apartment in San Diego, the sun relentless in this desert-become-a-city. She stares into that cloudless blue sky. Cancer has begun its final assault upon her body.
I had seen the boy many times before, but never really looked. I did not actually know his name until the day he was being escorted to the front office by a smug-looking assistant principal.