Issue 400 | The Sun Magazine

April 2009

Readers Write


A kidney donor, Las Vegas, a ballet dancer

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
Every Eye Beholds You

To expect to have faith before embarking on the disciplines of the spiritual life is like putting the cart before the horse. In all the great traditions, prophets, sages, and mystics spend very little time telling their disciples what they ought to believe. Indeed, it is only since the Enlightenment that faith has been defined as intellectual submission to a creed.

By Karen Armstrong


You cannot run away from a weakness; you must sometime fight it out or perish. And if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?

Robert Louis Stevenson

The Sun Interview

The Good Red Road

Leslie Gray On Rediscovering America’s Oldest Psychology

When I used to teach Native American studies at Berkeley, I would offer an A to any student who could come up with a Western model of health. No one was ever able to do it. The West developed only a model of disease. Therefore all of its treatments are based on a negative model. They are all “anti”: antidepressants, antipsychotics, antihistamines, antibiotics, and so on. And we are constantly being told that we have to “fight” this or that illness. This is a dualistic way to look at healing. The Native American model is a model of health. It is about the restoration of balance to body, mind, and heart. It assumes that we sometimes go out of balance, and good health depends on restoring that balance.

By Barbara Platek
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


I strode impatiently over the drenched grass, rattling in my hand two rough stones that we’d brought from Maine, in keeping with the Jewish tradition of leaving stones on the grave to show that we had visited. They were striped rocks: white, gray, and black layers of prehistoric past.

By Michelle Cacho-Negrete
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


By the time I left college and became a naturalist, I knew that change was slow and difficult. At thirty I felt stuck, as if my life had stiffened around me, and for some reason, perhaps unconscious at the time, I began to get interested in insect metamorphosis.

By Ellery Akers
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Fine Art Of Quitting

I live beachside in San Diego, California, in a small ground-floor studio with a fold-out couch, a burned-out RCA color television, an eight-by-four kitchen stocked with miniature appliances, and my Toulouse-Lautrec lithos tacked to the walls.

By Poe Ballantine

This Late Hour

She stopped taking the medicines when it had become clear they were no longer of any use. They had crowded her dreams with demons and angels from some nocturnal Disneyland. Now that she was done with them, her dreams were her own.

By Dawn Paul

Rayleen And R.L. Bury Their Luck

My wife, Rayleen, got it into her head that our luck died with our dog, Buddy. “We buried it in a hole in the ground” is how she put it.

By Marjorie Kemper