After graduation, after a divorce, after an election
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Sy Safransky is editor and founder of The Sun.
Every year, new words are added to the language — too many, if you ask me. Nouns are dragged into alleys, beaten into submission, then sent back into the world dressed as verbs like “transitioning” or “gifting” or, if you pardon my English, “languaging.”
I haven’t written in more than a week. Forgive me, O Muse, for being absent without leave. Maybe it’s the Prozac. Maybe it’s the rain. Maybe it’s because I’m too damn vain. Can’t I put down simple words and send them out the door?
Summer is getting ready to pack her bags and disappear; she’ll probably break records for the hottest ever. Let’s hope that string theory is right, and in some parallel universe we haven’t made the same blunders, and the earth is doing just fine, thank you, and a hot summer day is just a hot summer day.
My cat Nimbus is sick. Oil is fouling the Gulf of Mexico. The veterinarian, who makes house calls, will arrive soon in his twenty-four-foot-long animal hospital on wheels. I wonder how many miles to the gallon it gets. But with my cat’s well-being at stake, do I really care?
We’ve just published a new collection of Sunbeams, Paper Lanterns: More Quotations from the Back Pages of The Sun. We’re reprinting the book’s introduction here. To find out more or to order the book, please visit www.thesunmagazine.org.
Someone sent me a bumper sticker that reads, “Nonjudgment day is near.” It can’t come soon enough. For even though I’ve learned the importance of nonjudgmental awareness, I still turn nonjudgmental awareness into a goal, then judge myself for not being more nonjudgmentally aware.
I admit it: My memory isn’t what it used to be. I forgot what number we’re supposed to dial when we see the Supreme Court leaving the scene of a crime — for what else to call yesterday’s 5–4 decision to kill campaign-finance reform?
Just give me the good news this morning, and let me hear it sung! I want glorious cantatas. I want soaring arias. I want the music of the spheres ringing in my ears.
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?
Soon I’ll celebrate another birthday. It’s too bad the earth doesn’t have a real birthday. It might remind us that the planet had a beginning and — as it circles a medium-sized star whose days are numbered, too — is moving inexorably toward its end.