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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Our Rag-Bone Hearts

My twin brother, Richard, was a freshman at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, beginning his study of the great books, when he was drafted into the army and sent to the battlefields of World War II. I was never to see him well again.

Psychotherapy And The Status Quo

Early in therapy, a young woman I treated for depression described her ideal relationship with a man. “If I had my way,” she said, “I wouldn’t do a thing, except clean the house and talk on the phone. He would make all the decisions. He would pick where we go, what we do, who we see.”

Wild Heart

Mounting an expedition to the high Arctic can be a crapshoot. The ability of any foreigner to get a solid commitment over the phone from a bush pilot or a local guide is limited. There are only a few qualified guides with a boat or a ski mobile or a dog team, or with a gun to protect visitors from polar bears. A day trip out on to the ice pack can cost a thousand dollars. Commitments are made with the best of intentions, but when a better deal shows up, a guide never forgets that his season is less than six weeks a year.


Jane’s Letter

Jane lingers in bed beneath the veil of the mosquito net and listens to schoolchildren slosh their clothing in buckets of water near her window. They will twist the bright splashes of color, then smooth them flat on the steaming earth to dry, so that when she leaves the house she will have to walk on her tiptoes in the small spaces between the pieces of cloth.


Every night Lynn cooks onions for supper: liver and onions, onion soup, onion rings, hot sausage grinders. Every night, amidst the smell of onions, Jerry removes pieces of the kitchen’s blue-flowered wallpaper, exposing patches of green paint and gray paste.


It was too hot to do anything except wait for the heat to end, wait for rain. Wait on the red brick porch, down at the end of our street where the road made a wide, looping turn, disappearing into a tangled mess of kudzu vines. Wait for the Kitchen Lady, who was emerging from the open door of a dilapidated Chevrolet, out of a sea of black faces, each of them nodding, staring.

The GirlsClub

I’m depressed. My girlfriend left me. Then I got cancer of the colon, so I had to have my large intestine removed, cut out, the whole thing, gone. I’m a lesbian alone with no large bowel and an ostomy bag hanging off the front of my abdomen. Who’s going to love me now?

The Great Army

According to him, the account of the Great Army was told hundreds of years ago to a fasting monk by a ghost; I’ve always imagined that telling the tale set the ghost free. In the end, no matter how much the Old Buddhist tried to dissuade me, I’d get my way. We’d sit on the warm stone wall by the fish pond, and he would begin.

Readers Write


I was thirteen when my family took our new trailer on a summer camping trip to Missouri. We pitched a canvas awning over the picnic table at our campsite to create more sheltered space for the seven of us.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸


“Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships.”

CS. Lewis

More Quotations ▸
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