Issue 406 | The Sun Magazine

October 2009

Readers Write


Nixon’s resignation, Vietnam, Chernobyl explosions

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
Small Is Beautiful

Economics As If People Mattered

Equally, people who live in highly self-sufficient local communities are less likely to get involved in large-scale violence than people whose existence depends on worldwide systems of trade.

By E.F. Schumacher
Sy Safransky's Notebook

October 2009

Global warming is irreversible, Lovelock says: We’ve already pushed the planet past the tipping point. Solar panels and compact fluorescents aren’t going to avert disaster. By the end of this century, he predicts, floods, droughts, violent storms, and melting polar ice caps will make most of the world uninhabitable.

By Sy Safransky


You can live without anything you weren’t born with, and you can make it through on even half of that.

Gloria Naylor

The Sun Interview

The Decline And Fall Of The Suburban Empire

James Howard Kunstler On Reshaping The American Landscape

I hear two themes that both represent a big fantasy. One is the techno-triumphalist fantasy that assumes we’re going to invent our way out of our problems: some mythical “they” will come up with a techno-rescue — a new miracle fuel to keep the cars running, or something like that. The other fantasy assumes that we’re going to organize our way out of this mess. Both tend to ignore the likelihood that we’re going to be living in a more disorderly society with a lot of people who are unhappy and perhaps violent and who are going to be making disruptive political claims.

By Leslee Goodman
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Sister In Our Dreams

We knew we had a sister who was dead. Her little footprints and handprints, in black ink on a stiff piece of ocher cardboard, were hidden in a deep box above our winter coats in the room off the kitchen. Her weight and length were scrawled in blue under the tiny footprints, in our mother’s handwriting.

By Doug Crandell
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Confessions From A Conversion Van

The owner of the sports bar knows I sleep in the parking lot on weeknights. He doesn’t seem to mind. I’m a curiosity — the homeless professor. He thinks I must be one of a kind, but I’m not so sure. Anyway, I’m not even a professor. More like an adjunct instructor. I’d move closer to work, but I could never afford to live in Martinsburg now that it’s becoming a D.C. bedroom community.

By Jim Ralston
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Spring Comes To New Jersey

I’ve been thinking lately about eccentricity. The word eccentric is from Greek astronomy; it describes a celestial object whose movements aren’t centered around the earth. The ancient Greeks saw the planets moving through the sky with no apparent direction and called them “wandering stars” (asteres planetai).

By Sparrow

Uncommon Weather

Herb had finally hit the jackpot in the herring-roe fishery and decided that, with the girls gone, I might enjoy some creature comforts to take the edge off being alone in the cabin so much. Unfortunately I had already come to the same conclusion, and one of the comforts I’d treated myself to was named Jimmy.

By Richard Chiappone


Then boom, boom, boom, the stores fell like dominoes. Without the Gas-n-Go to anchor the town, and with the grocery store and the bank gone, the rest couldn’t hold. The pharmacy shut one day and never reopened. Armored trucks were seen emptying it.

By Cara Blue Adams

Mitzvah On Saturday Morning

You’re on 14th Street headed west / to buy a new seat for your bicycle. / In Casper, Wyoming, a hospice nurse / backs her car out of your parents’ / driveway.

By Meg Kearney

Delayed Reactions

After the hammer slams down on your thumb / or the hurtful word penetrates, / a stunned moment follows.

By Sherman Pearl