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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

When Nature is Larger Than Life

In October 1988, I was invited by Greenpeace to join an effort to rescue three gray whales stuck in an ice hole a few miles outside of Barrow, Alaska. Because my consulting firm, Interspecies Communication (IC), has developed a sound system that permits humans to transmit sound and music directly to whales underwater, it was hoped that I would be able to develop some acoustic method to coax the whales out of their hole and toward the open sea again. It still took three phone calls from the Greenpeace representative in Barrow to coax me away from the balmy fall weather of the Pacific Northwest, and up to this Eskimo village where the pre-Halloween thermometer was already hovering around fifteen degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Simply put, I was not convinced that the whales ought to be saved.

Fiction

Toshi

At 6:20 p.m., in my office in the outpatient psychiatry department, Briget was lying on top of the toy cabinet, sucking in air, showing me how fat she could make her stomach. I reminded her she was showing me instead of telling me. She thought that over. Progress. The month before, in response to the same intervention, she’d toppled the bookcase and cracked my mother-and-child sculpture.

Irving’s Way

Dear Rhoda and Norman,

I’ve taken one of the self-addressed envelopes you left on your father’s dresser and I’m writing to let you know a little about his first two weeks here at the Home. You asked me to drop you a line about him whenever I felt up to it, so here it is. Don’t worry that this is taking me away from anything. Rest assured if I weren’t writing to you I’d probably be sound asleep. It’s raining in Worcester so it’s hard to think of doing anything constructive. My daughter, when she visits, tells me reading the latest articles on how to live with arthritis is constructive. Better yet, she brings me old “Candid Camera” TV shows to watch. She says when you laugh you feel better, that pain is all in the head. The things she tells me are what make me laugh.

The Defense Of Madrid

Neal fell in love with Linda in a single, violent onslaught of emotion, a torrent filled with restaurants, unexpected encounters, and flowers that were never roses.

J. Robert Oppenheimer & The Gypsies

This is a love story. Boy meets girl, more or less. So if you don’t like that kind of thing, maybe you’d better get out now. On the other hand, it isn’t a soap opera either, though it is about a triangle. It’s just not clear who’s on third.

Readers Write

Doing Good

Whenever I spend any length of time with my mother, she complains about her feet. Her feet are swollen. Her corns and calluses are painful. Her soles are sore. It’s been this way for years now, as if all the burdens of her life have somehow lodged in her feet.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

No matter what success I experience, my contentment is never final. I carry with me always a secret desire to die to the old man and rise to the new . . . for hidden in my life is the certainty that no mode of existence can ever fulfill me completely.

Adrian Van Kaam

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