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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Banana Hymn

Your white shirt and blue-striped trousers show up well against the beige dormitory walls, against the sand, clay, rocks, and weeds, against the field of sparse grass that leads down to the prison greenhouses. You’re a clerk in the prison school, and the message you’re delivering is from Maslowe, the education supervisor. You’re to inform his horticulture instructor that Maslowe hopes “the good professor will be able to make the CPR training at 1:00 p.m.”

From Yale To Jail

Shortly after I arrived at the Danbury federal prison in the fall of 1940 I was put in solitary confinement for sitting in the black section at my first Saturday night movie. Later, my fellow war objectors and I organized protests against the government’s policy of racial segregation in federal prisons, but this time it was just a case of sitting next to someone I had been talking with when we walked in. How could I obey when the guard motioned me to go into the white section and waved him into the black section?

Conjuring Tibet

The Tibetan woman stopped struggling when they reached the narrow suspension bridge over the swiftly moving river. The two Chinese soldiers turned her away from them as they bound her hands behind her. They didn’t want to look at her face. They had stripped her and could see chill bumps rising on her flesh as she stood naked on the riverbank. It was a bitterly cold, cloudy day. One of the men bent down to bind the woman’s slender ankles. The rope slapped against the sand where her feet dug in. They had beaten her legs earlier, but they had stopped bleeding. In fact, the men felt edgy because they could no longer see any trace of the whip on her calves. They lifted her. One seized her shoulders, the other her ankles, and they ran with her onto the shaky bridge.

A Burden Of Violets

The Troc. In my memory, advertisements for the Philadelphia burlesque house suddenly surface in a riot of breasts, navels, and G-strings, amid the long, smooth legs of striptease queens, whose tinseled beauty is no more.

Venice Shimmers

In Venice, we drink cheap wine and walk until our feet ache. The narrow streets are crowded with tourists, but we’re in a world of our own, celebrating ten years of marriage in a city that has endured for fifteen hundred years.


If We’re Lucky

“Prophet?”No one had called me that in a while. Before I turned around, before I looked for his face in the mirror behind the bar, I knew, I felt who it was.

Might Have Been

When Annabel asked the question, out of nowhere, Kit felt something like relief. It had been bound to come along, and here it was, in the safe confines of a family dinner, passed around the table as nonchalantly as salt.

Readers Write

Locked Doors

The year of my late father’s eightieth birthday he left his small hometown in England to visit me. Each day while I was at work, he would walk my huge mixed-breed dog to the nearby park. Unaccustomed to city living, he often forgot to lock the back door and take his key.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸


You are sitting on the earth, and you realize that this earth deserves you and you deserve this earth. You are there — fully, personally, genuinely.

Chogyam Trungpa

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