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The Sun Interview

In A Broken World

Scott Russell Sanders On Resisting Despair

When Scott Russell Sanders went camping in the Colorado Rockies with his teenage son, Jesse, he was hoping for reconciliation. Lately, he and Jesse been falling into arguments, and the source of this tension had eluded him. A few days into the trip, yet another argument erupted between them, but this one, at least, revealed the source of the friction: Jesse felt his father had robbed him of hope for the future. “Your view of things is totally dark,” Jesse snapped.  You make me feel the planet’s dying and people are to blame, and nothing can be done about it.”

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Body Bright

Although my watch told me it was 9 A.M. on July 1, nothing in the Underground revealed whether it was day or night, summer or winter. The smeared windows gave back our own reflections. I was headed to the British Museum, but for all I could see, our subway car might have been a spaceship rocketing to the stars.

Leaving The West

The first time I hear the voice is in the fall, when the larch trees have just begun to change color. I’m driving out of Washington’s Blue Mountains along Cloverland Road just above the Snake River. Cloverland is a series of hair-pin turns and S curves bordered by a sheer drop into a canyon full of snakes, sage, and yellow star thistle. My fifteen-year-old, oil-leaking Subaru leans toward the drop-off, and, like a whisper, I hear this command:

Go straight.

Spring

Outside my window, sparrows confer in the bottle-brush tree. Amid the tangled branches newly leafed in brilliant green, they chirp about important matters while a hummingbird hovers around the edges, sipping at frizzy red fronds. The winter rains have finally ended, and everything feels washed-clean and ready. Even the dried insect wing stuck to my window screen quivers with excitement.

Heaven And Earth

When I first arrive from Boston, LA looks to me like one giant garbage heap, a big emperor with no clothes. I can’t believe that the rich and famous drive the same featureless freeways I do; that movie stars reach the zenith of their careers in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with its Liberace-style chandeliers; that immigrants have come here from their unspoiled homelands to build cheesy Hindu palaces and Korean barbecues inexplicably designed to resemble the Parthenon. There are some pockets of town so choked with concrete and cars, so devoid of greenery, humanity, and charm, that a near-suicidal depression engulfs me each time I pass through them.

Fiction

Free Spirits

I have been waiting for the voices, for the vague, disarming incoherence of psychosis, for evidence, substantiation, beyond my crooked teeth and lazy eye, that I am indeed my father's son. I have been anticipating — turning my head in alarm when a dry leaf scratches along the sidewalk, as if a whisper has found its way into my head — but the voices have never come.

Readers Write

Strange Places

My father always thought that I needed money. No matter how well I told him I was doing, no matter how many times I picked up a check (or tried to), no matter how expensive a gift I gave him for his birthday or Christmas, he still felt the need to take care of me financially.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

February 2000

I had a hard time falling asleep last night. The room was filled with moonlight, and my head was filled with thoughts about mortality: the mundane reveries of a middle-aged man. I thought about God. I thought about getting up to pray. Instead I went to the kitchen, got something to eat, and read the newspaper. 

Musings From Our Founder ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

“I’ve never been very good at feasting on the daily newspaper. It turns bitter in my mouth. And yet, this is my world. This face of suffering I must embrace as a part of my responsibility. Part of the feast is becoming aware of the world that is mine. Part of the feast is owning this broken world as my own brokenness.”

Macrina Wiederkehr

More Quotations ▸
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