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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Why Didn’t You Vote For Me?

A Diary Of My Presidential Campaign

In 1992 I ran for president as the Pajama Party candidate, because I wanted to write great poems. And somehow I did write great poems.

Dinner At The St. Francis Inn

Like many people, Tom Lagasse felt his job at a large multinational corporation was “hollow, trivial, and meaningless.” Dispirited, he quit and went back to school, where he heard about an opportunity to volunteer at the St. Francis Inn, a Philadelphia soup kitchen and homeless shelter run by Franciscan monks. “Dinner at the St. Francis Inn” is an excerpt from the journal he kept while helping out at the Inn for a week, serving dinner to those who had previously been only stereotypes and statistics to him. The experience was, he says, “the only thing that seemed true during a time of personal confusion.”

Small Acts

I like to picture my father, thirty years ago, standing in a half-built department store, with a hammer in one hand and a forty-five record in the other. The forty-five is Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” My father is alone, it is early morning, and he is trying to decide what to do with the record, which he hates.

Fiction

Miracle Cure

I saw the whole thing in my rearview mirror. In the final seconds before fate in the form of a silver Volvo station wagon collided with me, I was fascinated by the slow unraveling of the inevitable. I was stopped in traffic, a car in front of me, cars to either side of me. I glanced in the mirror, beheld my future, and did the sensible thing: forced the brake down and locked my right leg against the pedal as hard as I could.

Bert

I’m in love with Bert. I’ve been dreaming for going on six months now about having an affair with him. Unfortunately, I’ve had to take into account the fact that Bert don’t want to, even though he thinks I’m a goddess. I reckon I am one, sort of­ — leastways, compared to the rest of the female population in Stillwater, Tennessee. Not that there ain’t some other good-looking women in town; it’s just that I’m the only one not affiliated with any of the churches we got, which makes me some kind of free-spirit heathen. I got a lot of spirituality in me, though. I believe you can find God in a tree or a flower just as easy as in a church. I believe you can find Him in another person, too. I’m not ashamed of my body, it being the House of my Soul. I don’t think sex is bad, either. I believe it’s one of the presents God gave us to partly make up for having to live as humans. 

The Patron Saint Of Girls

Girls, look up here! See me hovering close to the water-stained ceiling, above the buzzing VCR. Behold, I am Agnes, patron saint of girls, come to distract you from the climax of your freshman biology class, the video How Christian Girls Blossom into Maturity.

Readers Write

Fallen Angels

When I was a psychology intern in a hospital ward, there was a man there who claimed to be Lucifer himself. Even megadoses of medication didn’t seem to touch Luce, as we called him. He had a look of pure evil — sharp features, slitted eyes, a long, pointed tongue that lolled wetly from his mouth — and he constantly spewed obscenities, hatred, and rage. I couldn’t stand Luce, and tried everything short of threatening to quit to get him assigned to some other trainee, but to no avail: he was all mine for an hour a day. I did my best to work with him, pretending that Luce was my shadow self, here to teach me about my own evil and arrogance. As it turned out, I learned a lot, but could do little to help him.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

Alas, O Lord, to what a state dost Thou bring those who love Thee!

Saint Teresa of Avila

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