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The Sun Interview

On The Flying Trapeze

Sam Keen Ponders How To Be Free

Sam Keen’s personal odyssey from theology professor to countercultural journalist to reluctant icon of the burgeoning men’s movement to, most recently, aspiring trapeze artist is the kind myths are made of. So it seems fitting that the unifying theme of his many books is the idea of life as a mythic journey.

Keen believes that our lives are shaped — and occasionally misshaped — by the stories we tell about ourselves. It’s only by becoming intimately acquainted with the narratives handed down from our families, our cultural backgrounds, and our religious beliefs that we can begin to live consciously and, as the Sufi poet Rumi said, “unfold our own myth.” Unless we understand our lives as a kind of autobiography in the making, we’re likely to take refuge in other people’s stories, ready-made ideologies, and unexamined systems of belief.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Catskill Sky Journal

Since I moved to Phoenicia, New York, the sky has become my main cultural influence. I can’t afford to go to the movies; I have no TV; I don’t like trees, or grass. So each morning I’m relieved to see the sky appear, with her curious, fresh ideas.

After The Stillbirth

Afterward, I walked in graveyards, clearing away trash and fallen branches. I pulled up weeds that obscured the names on old headstones, though most of the names I revealed meant nothing to me. I took special care with the graves of children. After a rain, I thumbed mud from the Lucite-covered photographs set in stones. I took the time to read a turn-of-the-century marker made of crudely hand lettered cement. On it was an asymmetrical heart pieced together from small stones. I subtracted compulsively: death year minus birth year equals age.

Fiction

The Dead Boy At Your Window

In a distant land, a woman looked upon the unmoving form of her newborn baby and refused to see what the midwife saw. This was her son, whom she had brought forth in agony, and now he must suck. She pressed his lips to her breast.

In Loco Parentis

For months afterward I had the sense that I was being questioned by reporters, or addressing a judge: For the record, Your Honor, the accident was not my fault. I plead not guilty. . . .  And I was not in love with her!

Photography

Photographs By Bruce Horowitz

I was working at a youth center, introducing seven- to eleven-year-olds to photography, when someone told me about a carnival-supply store that sold cases of toy cameras for about a quarter apiece. They were called Banner cameras and were made of black and turquoise plastic. I had to tape up the backs to help the film advance.

October 1999
Readers Write

The End Of The Line

I was no longer captivated by New York’s speed and energy, but drained from the cold, the walking, and the endless choices. The city seemed like a speeding locomotive, chugging along, indifferent to those who had, in some way or another, fallen onto the tracks.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

“Tell me what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Mary Oliver

More Quotations ▸
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