Genie Zeiger | The Sun Magazine #2

Genie Zeiger

Genie Zeiger was a longtime contributor to The Sun who lived in Shelburne, Massachusetts. She died in 2009.

— From December 2023
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

My Nose

Before the nose job, I often peered at myself in the large mirror above the sink in our family’s pink-and-black-tiled bathroom. I’d comb my straight, dark hair, adjust the collar of my black turtleneck, carefully apply my black eyeliner, then stare at my reflection and sigh. An amalgam of my parents’ noses, mine was long and sad, like a Jewish prayer. It was a problem.

June 2003
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

Visiting Ruth

My mother, Ruth, is a flower closing. Her belly button is the center, the point around which the collapse occurs, limbs drawing in. Her shoulders are compressed forward. There is the hump of her upper back. The matching curl of her knees when she sits in her wheelchair or lies on her side in bed. The pale feet, which she cannot move. At the center of her body, death is pulling on a cord, gathering her in and down.

October 2001
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

O My Little Breath, O My Little Heart

Late-morning light falls on the gray carpet of our bedroom as I do my daily yoga practice and think about my upcoming trip with my two grown kids to the Southwest. I’ve been looking forward to it for months, but now, as the date draws near, I’m worried about how it will go. My children and I rarely travel together anymore.

August 2001
The Sun Interview

Summoning Venus

An Interview With Thomas Moore On Sex And The Soul

The goal of our sexuality — especially in our thinking about lovemaking — should be to evoke the spirit of Venus. That’s really what it’s about. It’s not about the modern idea of people trying to communicate with each other. Nor is it just instinct, nor biology. In The Soul of Sex, I set out to write about sex in a way that was not biological, not psychological, and not sociological. I came to the conclusion that summoning the spirit of sex — which the Greeks called Aphrodite and the Romans called Venus — is still what sex is about, and is what we need to do in today’s world.

June 2001
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


When I was thirteen, my mother gave me a mezuzah, a tiny piece of parchment inscribed with a Jewish prayer and enclosed in a small case. Though traditionally attached to the front door post of Jewish homes, it can also be worn around the neck.

April 2001
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Triple Delight

It wasn’t until my son Josh and his new wife, Laura, appeared back at our house after the honeymoon that I realized they were actually married and that I was blessed — that we all were. And it wasn’t until Laura, a few days later, licked the end of her finger and used it to wipe a smudge of makeup from the corner of my eye, putting her face just a few inches from mine and dabbing at me with her spit, that I realized I had another daughter.

August 2000
The Sun Interview

Old Soul

How Aging Reveals Character — A Conversation With James Hillman

To show one’s face is part of having the courage to show who one is. And coming to terms with your own face takes a lifetime. Just think how, when you were twelve or sixteen, you wished you looked different. And that’s true for everyone; even the most perfect, beautiful boy or girl is dissatisfied. So why is that? It can’t just be that I don’t look like the model on the magazine cover. It’s something else. You haven’t yet accepted your fate, who you are. As you get older, that relationship between your face and who you are matures. They blend together. Your true self shows more.

August 2000
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

At My Bedroom Window

The night sky outside my window is so watery I want to backstroke into it, sink beneath its silver-flecked surface. I am sad and it is beautiful; in this, we make a good marriage. I imagine my parents up there now. Sometimes I miss them so much I’d do anything to have them back. I keep a large color photo of them on my bureau so they can watch me dress and undress every day. I no longer care if my father sees me naked.

November 1999
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Before The Fall, The Fullness

My son Josh once wrote me a letter in which he described hiking alone in the mountains of Ecuador, fourteen thousand feet above sea level. The tiny lights of a village shone below him, and the snowcapped cone of a volcano was visible in the distance. “The stars and planets are incredibly low, large, and brilliant here,” he wrote. The tone of his letter was ecstatic, like Sufi poetry — love and immanence spiced with joy.

September 1999
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


My mother once told me that, during her labor with me in the living room of her Brooklyn apartment, she’d tugged on the long white drapes in her pain. The image of her on her knees, dark hair neatly tied back, mouth open, remains vivid to me.

May 1999

Come Rain Or Come Shine

Twenty-Five Years Of The Sun

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.

January 1999
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