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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

A Good Life

We were in the kitchen, listening to the radio — Norma preparing dinner, Mara studying for exams — when the bulletin came over the air. The United States had just gone to war with Iraq. Mara, not quite fifteen, looked up in astonishment. Norma put down her knife and wept.

The Necessity To Speak

And yet we go on living closed lives, pretending we are not each personally responsible for the deaths we buy and sell. We go on living our sheltered lives among the potted plants and automobiles and advertising slogans. We don’t want to know what the world is like, we can’t bear very much reality.

Trying To Quit

My face and throat are swollen. This is the third sinus infection I’ve had this year. I ache, go to bed with fever and shivers. I take antibiotics, which make my face painfully sensitive. My ears feel like they’re about to explode. My teeth hurt.

Born Too Young: Diary Of A Pilgrimage

When we last left Sparrow, he had arrived in Italy after crossing Europe, and was seeking passage to Israel. First begun in high optimism, Sparrow’s journey soon developed into an escapade fraught with culinary, sexual, linguistic, and metaphysical woes. As his marriage to Jeanne faltered, and she proceeded straight to India on her own, Sparrow was left to contemplate his declining fortunes among the gargoyles of Notre Dame. Hampered by doubts over Jeanne’s fidelity, the authenticity of his guru, and his own spiritual destiny, Sparrow was determined to make his way alone. 


Tales Of Lord Shantih

A seeker approached Lord Shantih with a question.

“My Lord,” he said, “what special task do wise men perform in honor of the gods?”

Lord Shantih struck him with his staff. “A wise man,” he shouted, “performs all his tasks in honor of the gods!”

The Color Of Light

The painter offered fifty francs. All I had to do was strip leaves from an oak tree. The landowner had never wanted the painter in his meadow. Now there was the scandal about the leaves, and the priest in the village sided with the painter. Then as now a priest had only to say, “Go south,” and I’d run north, but I needed the money.

Heart Too Big

Fourth Street starts in Gretna and runs into Marrero, miming the curves of the Mississippi. In one six-mile stretch there were once more than a hundred bars. By 1985 half of them had closed, but the abandoned buildings served as a reminder of the boom years of the oil industry, when men slept above them during the day and drank at night, spending what was earned in three weeks each month on the oil rigs in the Gulf.

*NOTE: Original copies of this issue are no longer available. Unbound, laser-printed copies will be provided for print orders.

Readers Write


I work in a heart-attack prevention program. My job involves counseling middle-aged male participants to stop smoking, eat less fat and cholesterol, lose weight, drink less alcohol, and change other “health-related behaviors.” I wear a white lab coat and a plastic badge that says “Gretchen Newmark, M.A., R.D., Nutritionist.”

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸


Thou shalt not kill.

Exodus 20:13

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