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The Sun Interview

Men And Their Sorrows

An Interview With John Lee

At the Wildman weekend that I recently attended, I found it empowering to be placed in the circle of elders, of men fifty and older. It redeemed much of my past. As a fifty-four-year-old man with three careers behind me, I thought that there had been a lot of waste in my life. Being inducted into the circle of elders told me that not all was wasted.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Marvelous Adventure Of Cabeza De Vaca

I am that Núñez Cabeza de Vaca who lately sent you a relation of his shipwrecks and mischances during the eight years he was absent from your dominions. In painful doubt whether my words were clear enough, I write again. My meanings being new to your Majesty and at a hasty glance unconcerned with your prestige, you might consider my narrative a poor occasion for exercising your serene power of understanding. The fault would then lie in me, not in what I have to say. Be my forgiving reader, your Majesty. Grant me your grace.

Instrument Of The Immortals

It’s a Steinway vertical, the “professional” model, taller, with longer strings than a spinet, and three pedals like a grand. It has a satin finish, each of its five coats of black enamel applied and then rubbed in turn with fine steel wool, producing a sheen rather than a hard shine, the elegance of a top hat. It’s an aristocrat, born with a patina and a name. It bears in fact the autograph of John Steinway — now seventy-two, great-grandson of the founder — on the rear right-hand corner under the lid, in magic marker.

Mistaken Identity

I left myself, drove all night without stopping, called myself from a phone booth to say I was sorry it had to be this way.


The Wrong Peas

As the waiter was coming to take my order, the counter boy called out to him, “Your daughter’s on the phone.”

Finding Out About Your Heart

You find out just how bad a shape you’re in with the first stress test. Not five minutes on a flat treadmill, and alarms start going off. You pay attention. The cardiologist says take this medicine. You do what he says about the medicine. Not the cigarettes. Not yet.

Plum Island

One of Quick’s students is fishing at the foot of the beach beneath the shack he rents on Plum Island. The dog wants walking. There is no escape. The girl’s name is Harley and she is barely passing Spanish.

Sunrise, Montana

My God, he was a beautiful man. The way he sat on a horse. Or the way he rolled a cigarette. Charlie Freeman. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

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

Readers Write

Going Out

I went out with the same woman for ten years. It ended with her marriage to someone else. As she was the first woman I’d really dated, I soon discovered that I wasn’t good at going out.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸


For him, too, World War I proved a shattering experience. The grim facts of war destroyed much of his liking for speculative philosophy, in which everything seems so harmoniously ordered. Man, man, and again man he now put before all phantoms of thought.

Ernst Breisach
on Gabriel Marcel

More Quotations ▸
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