Issue 224 | The Sun Magazine

August 1994

Readers Write

Family Reunions

A family graveyard, a redwood tree, a private language

By Our Readers


It is not drawn on any map; true places never are.

Herman Melville

The Sun Interview

Holding Our Power

An Interview With Malidoma Patrice Somé

The indigenous world is not interested in the show of power. It is interested in respecting the source of the power. This respect is kept alive by camouflage; the power is protected by hiding it. An elder who has the power to create a light hole — a gateway you can jump through into another galaxy — is not interested in using that power to impress people. He would not use that power to show off.

By D. Patrick Miller
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

My First Night At The Initiation Camp

This year the millet fields had been generous and the harvest good. The hard work of collecting and transporting grain from the farm to the house roofs, where it waited to be put into the granaries, was over. Now, in the fallow dry season, the villagers turned their attention to spiritual matters — to initiation.

By Malidoma Patrice Somé
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Off The Map

Last fall, after two years of escalating entreaties by my girlfriend, I finally agreed to move from the city to the country. More precisely, from San Francisco to northern New Mexico, to a desert of lunar silences and nights so black that I rediscovered my childhood fear of the dark.

By Gregg Levoy
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Mr. Handyperson

A house is a remarkable multipurpose system made to provide shelter from heat and cold, security from a wide range of wild animals both primeval and contemporary, privacy, refuge, an investment, a statement, a hobby.

By Mark A. Hetts
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The End of the Road

Last year, after Norma and I visited Costa Rica at the invitation of a friend, we vowed to return with our three children. We were certain they’d be as enthralled as we were by this rugged, beautiful country, its tropical rain forests and steaming volcanoes and crowded markets. Mistake number one.

By Sy Safransky

My Crap Life

He looks up and says me and my brother are getting a haircut on the front porch after dessert. Three days before summer, and he’s going to cut our hair.

By Tim Melley


“He says he believes God is a Yorkshire terrier.” My sister Nance’s voice hissed across the long-distance lines.

By Sarah E. Bewley

Scenes From A Wedding

Rabbi Alan Gershon sits in his Talmud-lined office preparing his comments for the ceremony. He has brought up his “Marriage Notes” file on the computer — general remarks that he adjusts for each occasion.

By Rafael Weinstein