Michael Ventura | The Sun Magazine

Michael Ventura

Michael Ventura is a novelist, screenwriter, and essayist whose “Letters at 3 AM” column appeared in The Austin Chronicle from 1993 to 2014. He’s written three novels and four books of nonfiction and directed a documentary about filmmaker John Cassavetes.

— From July 2016
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
We’ve Had A Hundred Years Of Psychotherapy — And The World’s Getting Worse

Hillman: I would rather define self as the interiorization of community. And if you make that little move, then you’re going to feel very different about things. If the self were defined as the interiorization of community, then the boundaries between me and another would be much less sure.

July 2016
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

James Hillman Never Said Hello To Me

All of which is to say: James Hillman loved and embodied paradox — not only the play of opposites but also the effluvia that attach to the play of opposites. For James nothing was quite as it seems, except in those highly improbable moments when things are exactly as they seem. (He would have insisted on that exception.)

July 2012
The Sun Interview

The Wind Isn’t Depressed

Robert Bly Talks With Michael Ventura About Art, Madness, And The Joy Of Loss

Isn’t there a word for something like “the joy of disappearing”? Some people say that’s what a water drop feels when it disappears into the ocean or evaporates on the sidewalk in the sun. I’ve always been interested in joy, but the joy of disappearing . . . [His voice trails off.] There’s a joy in winning the race, and there’s a great joy in losing the race.

May 2004
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Empty Sky

Reflections On 09.11.01

The Sun doesn’t usually report on current events, but September’s terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. marked a turning point for all of us. We put out a call to our writers, inviting them to reflect on the tragedy and its aftermath. The response was overwhelming. As word got around, we received submissions not only from regular contributors but from writers who are new to The Sun’s pages.

November 2001
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

And Thy Right Hand Shall Teach Thee

The Littleton massacre won’t go away, and not because politicians and commentators are still yapping about it, but because no one can forget it, and because Littleton has taught some deeply disturbed young people (all affluent, all white, all male) how to make an impact on an America that wants nothing from them but their capacity to consume.

December 1999
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Homage To A Sorcerer

Carlos Castaneda has died. There aren’t many to bear witness to or for him, because he didn’t allow many witnesses. One met him by invitation, usually, and even that was more fluke than not. Those invited were of all sorts. I happened to be one, for reasons that weren’t clear to me and probably aren’t important. Perhaps I was called to be a witness?

March 1999
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


At forty, you may have half your life in front of you; at fifty-two, it’s not likely. In your thirties you may worry about losing your looks; in your fifties you worry about losing your capacities.

May 1998
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Connecting A Few Dots

Without context, a piece of information is just a dot. It floats in your brain with a lot of other dots and doesn’t mean a damn thing. Knowledge is information in context — connecting the dots; making your own map.

November 1997
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Gray Rain At Graceland

So I’m surprised at the thrill I feel as I pull into the Graceland complex. Even in this chilly rain, with just a smattering of tourists; even in this atmosphere of shameless commercial necrophilia; even so, there really is that odd elation Paul Simon captured: “I’ve reason to believe we all will be received in Graceland. . . . There’s some part of me wants to see Graceland.”

July 1997
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

An Inventory Of Timelessness

What I’m saying is that we in the late twentieth century live not in a city or country, not on a planet, but in a collective dream. Our everyday world is one of dreamlike instantaneous changes, unpredictable metamorphoses, random violence, archetypal sex, and a threatening sense of multiple meaning.

July 1994
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Standing At The Wall

On its surface death meets life, the past meets the present. What was, doesn’t accuse; what is, doesn’t apologize. But this is the one place in America where they face each other, like it or not, beyond cant, revision, and lies.

March 1994
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