Issue 456 | The Sun Magazine

December 2013

Readers Write


Pleasure miles, saving time, blackberry picking

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
The Dead

A ghastly light from the street lamp lay in a long shaft from one window to the door. Gabriel threw his overcoat and hat on a couch and crossed the room towards the window. He looked down into the street in order that his emotion might calm a little. Then he turned and leaned against a chest of drawers with his back to the light. She had taken off her hat and cloak and was standing before a large swinging mirror, unhooking her waist.

By James Joyce
Sy Safransky's Notebook

December 2013

The woman in my dream was tall, very tall, and young, very young, and happy, very happy. But what’s the difference if she was nineteen or twenty-nine or thirty-nine? What’s the difference if she was six feet tall or seven feet tall or as tall as a redwood in the forest of an old man’s longing?

By Sy Safransky


Love is like quicksilver in the hand. Leave the fingers open and it stays. Clutch it, and it darts away.

Dorothy Parker

The Sun Interview

A More Perfect Union

Esther Perel on Intimacy, Infidelity, and Desire in Long Term Relationships

People come to me because their spouse isn’t making them happy. I don’t think any of our grandparents would have considered that a reason to seek therapy. A passionate relationship in which we ask for novelty and mystery from the same person we look to for security and stability — that is a grand new invention in the history of humankind.

By Mark Leviton
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


Outside my bedroom window the trees are wrapped in fog. Silvery threads of rain coat the glass. It’s not yet dawn, and I don’t know why I’m awake. I rub my eyes, pulling the sheet closer around my shoulders as I sink back into bed. And then I remember: the 5 AM check. I push aside the covers, grab my glasses, and glance at the clock: 4:55. I’ve awakened before the alarm. Trained.

By Patricia Foster
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Praying Alone In Qatar

It’s still dark when the muezzin calls for Fajr, the first prayer of the day. I’ve already been awake for a couple of hours: lying in bed, not thinking, not trying not to think, just taking in the predawn sounds of this utterly foreign city, Doha, the capital of Qatar. Our house faces Al Shamal Road, a long highway that snakes across the country from the northern coastline to the southern border with Saudi Arabia.

By H. de C.
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


But there’s a force that pulls with quiet, steady gravity; a single force that doesn’t go away, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. It seems primordial. I suspect it has something to do with love. Or that it is, precisely, love. Whatever name one wants to give it, it is the force that trumps all else, the force that causes me to wish to be right here, just as I am, forever, watching my daughter as she makes another valentine.

By Frederick Reiken

Marvel Sands

After my dad ran off with a bank teller with great teeth, my mom and I moved in with her boyfriend, Ronny. I was fifteen and needed a job, so I applied for a position at Marvel Sands State Beach, and I was hired. During the day I sat in a booth at the entrance of the parking lot and sold tickets. I liked it out there, especially in the morning when fog curled around the booth.

By Emma Duffy-Comparone

Between Lifetimes

But love is a rusting machine / you call to have serviced over and over again, / hoping the pieces won’t have to be replaced. Again and again / you apply the grease until the engine inches forward.

By Yehoshua November

Spanish Ballad

That barista, Mother, / with the dark-roast eyes / and the silver nail / through her left eyebrow, / who pulls the handle / of the espresso machine / with such imperial ennui / — Mom, does she not know / that she is killing me?

By Tony Hoagland