Issue 256 | The Sun Magazine

April 1997

Readers Write


Crack, gambling, smoking

By Our Readers


It’s very possible that your life in art — your successful life in art — might be a struggle from start to finish.

Sally Warner

The Sun Interview

The Clear Path To Creativity

An Interview With Dan Wakefield

The key is to clear yourself in order to become a conduit for creativity. In my book Expect a Miracle, Ann Nadel, a San Francisco painter and sculptor, said that when the work is really coming, there’s something flowing through you that’s not you. To me, that feeling is tangible proof of the existence of spirit: something we can tap into that’s beyond ourselves and our senses. The highest goal we can aspire to is to become transmitters of that.

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

How I Lost My Mind, And Other Adventures

I took the bus from Iowa down to Memphis, a funny pressure in my chest, a nervous futility, an unaccountable fatigue. I walked along the railroad tracks and the streets of white clapboard houses, the air smelling of soap and tar.

By Poe Ballantine
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Happiest Man On The Beach

He’s been so sad for so long now. Whenever we talk I have to confront his ocean of grief. I plant my feet sturdily in the ridiculous beauty of this world and offer him my hand, but he seems only to get sucked in deeper and deeper by the undertow. And the truth is, my own footing is none too secure.

By Alison Luterman
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

In Appreciation Of The Ground

Bare feet on the ground hum. There is an electricity that sparkles and pops between skin and soil. For me, the hum is strongest on days when the sun is bright, the air is cool, and worries and obligations are few. But it is always there.

By Brad Bannister
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

My Father’s Place

A few days after my father, poet William Stafford, died, I was sleeping alone at my parents’ house when something woke me at around 4 A.M. My mother, who was away, had told me that she, too, had been wakened since his death at this, my father’s customary writing time.

By Kim Stafford

Man Standing Under A Rocket Taking Off For The Moon

The lump slowly vaporizes, the chamber tumbles with smoke, and I breathe it in and hit the vault of heaven. I pass the pipe around and watch their expressions change. They lean down like winged monkeys ladling up love from a boiling glass ball.

By Poe Ballantine


In the spring, during long twilit evenings lengthening slowly into night, we watch our mothers change. The pink on the filters of their cigarettes matches the pink on their rounded fingernails. We think somehow this color signals s-e-x, but we don’t understand, and it makes us want to hate them.

By Anne Dooley

Nearly Kosher

In Russia, my great-grandmother Bubby Tsippi gave birth to eleven children, eight of whom lived. The three who died were fair-haired — which was no surprise, according to my mother, who told me Tsippi believed that dark-haired Jews were sturdy, the descendants of those who had survived the hardships of wandering in the desert during the Exodus.

By Ellyn Bache