Issue 455 | The Sun Magazine

November 2013

Readers Write

Trying Again

A bowl of kibble, Christmas dinner, exotic spaghetti

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
The Color Purple

But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and I cried and I run all around the house. I knew just what it was. In fact, when it happen, you can’t miss it.

By Alice Walker
Sy Safransky's Notebook

November 2013

I dreamt that I was eating sunshine — as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted. No worry about calories.

By Sy Safransky


The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, “It’s a girl.”

Shirley Chisholm

The Sun Interview


Sister Louise Akers Challenges The Church Patriarchy

The writings of the Church fathers take a misogynistic view of women. Saint Jerome, for example, said that women are a “pathway to hell,” and Saint Augustine viewed women as intellectually inferior and as a moral threat to men. This view of women was consistent through the Middle Ages, when Thomas Aquinas wrote in Summa Theologica that women are “misbegotten males.”

By Barbara Lyghtel Rohrer
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

We Regret To Inform You

Dear Young Artist:
Thank you for your attempt to draw a tree. We appreciate your efforts, especially the way you sat patiently on the sidewalk, gazing at that tree for an hour before setting pen to paper, and the many quick strokes of charcoal you executed with enthusiasm. But your smudges look nothing like a tree.

By Brenda Miller
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Let Nothing You Dismay

How can you help remembering it, all of it, when Christmas comes? Christmas is like drowning and seeing your life before your eyes. Every year — and it’s the darkest week of the year — someone strings lights on a tree, and you stand in front of it with whoever or whatever is supposed to make you happy. And you smile, maybe in honest, naked joy, or maybe you fake it because you got an umbrella.

By Joan Murray
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


The names are all typed on the coach’s old typewriter which screws up the letter y so it looks more like w so you check again from the top looking for Dowle, Brian and then you check again reading up from the bottom this time just in case some weird thing happened because you wear thick spectacles and the gym door has this thick old shimmery glass and maybe the two densities of glass cancel each other out or something.

By Brian Doyle
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Chanel Suit

It was during a search for jeans for my sons that I saw the gray suit hanging by itself like a fine work of art. A prominent sign identified it: COCO CHANEL SUIT. Even in the midst of the store’s usual castoff opulence, a Chanel suit was an unexpected find.

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


My mother was always afraid I would grow up to disgrace her and my family, and I did.

By Carolyn Miller

How It Would Come

When the doorbell rang, Alice put down her pencil and took another drag on her cigarette. It was nearly noon; the entire morning had somehow gotten away from her. Peering out through the yellowed blinds, she saw a Pittsfield police cruiser parked at the curb.

By Geoffrey Becker

Fixing A Lamp

I pull the old cord from the base, / its black cloth rotted from the wires, / because my mother says this brass desk lamp / belonged to her great-grandmother

By Sarah Pemberton Strong

Selected Poems

from “Special Problems in Vocabulary” | There is no single particular noun / for the way a friendship, / stretched over time, grows thin, / then one day snaps with a popping sound.

By Tony Hoagland