Issue 341 | The Sun Magazine

May 2004

Readers Write

Second Chances

For love, life, laughter

By Our Readers
Sy Safransky's Notebook

May 2004

I opened my heart, and the world rushed in. But my heart wasn’t big enough to hold the world’s pain, and my heart broke. After that, I couldn’t get my heart to close again: not completely, not for long.

By Sy Safransky


How frequently in the course of our lives the evil which in itself we shun, and which when we fall into it is the most dreadful to us, is oftentimes the very means or door of our deliverance.

Daniel Dafoe

The Sun Interview

The Wind Isn’t Depressed

Robert Bly Talks With Michael Ventura About Art, Madness, And The Joy Of Loss

Isn’t there a word for something like “the joy of disappearing”? Some people say that’s what a water drop feels when it disappears into the ocean or evaporates on the sidewalk in the sun. I’ve always been interested in joy, but the joy of disappearing . . . [His voice trails off.] There’s a joy in winning the race, and there’s a great joy in losing the race.

By Michael Ventura
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

A Brief History Of My Money-Back Guarantee

Last November I published the following poem in The Sun: If you are / dissatisfied / with / this poem / IN ANY WAY, / return it to: / Sparrow, P.O. / Box 63, / Phoenicia, / NY 12464.

By Sparrow
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Two Essays

Having failed to pay the rent for three months, my mother, my little brother, and I came home to find an eviction notice on our trailer. The front door was barred.

By Steve Fellner
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Land Of Plenty

Forty dollars a week, my mother’s salary before taxes in 1954, could barely feed my brother and me. For sixty-seven cents, however, she could buy a box of fertilizer that would nourish her plants all summer.

By Michelle Cacho-Negrete
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Unfinished Work

Not long ago I ran across my birth certificate tucked away at the bottom of an old wooden trunk filled with important papers. I looked again at the signatures of my father and mother next to each other, along with my inky footprints. I was heartened to see all our names together.

By Stephen J. Lyons

God In The Smoke Room

There is a remnant of cool left to him. It’s in the way he combs his gray hair back with a little wave at the top. It’s in his gold neck-chains and the way he lights his Camel straights: one-handed, with an ornate Zippo lighter.

By Sybil Smith

Our Impending Reconciliation

Sheila won custody. I get alternate weekends and a month in the summer, plus special events if I give notice in advance. It’s working out, mostly. Mark is eight and such a crackerjack, playing soccer and reading Sherlock Holmes.

By Dwight Yates


In discussions of justice in America, talk of punishment and retribution dominates. There is little interest in offering criminals, even juveniles, a second chance. But Joseph Rodríguez’s story makes a strong argument for the possibility of redemption.

photographs by Joseph Rodríguez