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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

On The Bus

Stephen Elliott Trails The Candidates On The Road To The Nomination

Early this morning I caught an Amtrak into the deep swirl of the election: the last Democratic-primary debate.


For about ten months I worked at a radio-antenna factory in the tiny town of Hays, Kansas. The factory workforce was comprised mainly of the inexperienced, the handicapped, the socially discarded, the desperate, the just-out-of-jail, and the fallen-to-the-bottom-of-the-ladder, with a handful of cheerful, non-English-speaking Mexicans thrown in. The starting wage was fifteen cents above the minimum. The work was monotonous but undemanding. The average employee lasted probably two weeks.

Dancing On Jim Morrison's Grave

Just inside the gates of Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, I saw a ruddy-faced backhoe driver wave merrily to a trio of gravediggers. The men were leaning on their shovels, trying to figure out how to shoehorn another resident into that historic neighborhood of the dead.

Three Short Essays

Driving across America the August before I stopped drinking, I found myself in Tennessee, taking note of that big look that trees get in the East at the end of summer: a line of them at the far end of a field, like blooms of dark green ink dropped into water.


The Rat

My mother was standing in front of the open refrigerator in her bathrobe, her face bloodless, almost gray. At her feet were the broken glass of a ketchup bottle, an egg carton spilling eggs, and a quart of orange juice. Her mouth opened and closed, and I could hear a deep rasping as she struggled to breathe.

Readers Write

Fitting In

Three beloved cats, one sand-painting ceremony, four pairs of blue-shag sandals

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

September 2004

When I visited New York City a year after the September 11 terrorist attack, I wasn't sure I wanted to see Ground Zero — not after learning that it had become the city's number-one tourist attraction. Besides, I'd never felt drawn to the World Trade Center. I didn't like its monumental scale: how it rose floor after floor, in smooth, unfettered ascension, to those quiet boardrooms where wealth and its unequal distribution were worshipped. But on my first night in the city, I dreamt of people jumping from the Twin Towers. The next morning, I got up before dawn and grabbed a cab downtown.

Musings From Our Founder ▸


“Sigmund Freud was so fond of smoking that he was somewhat irritated when men around him did not smoke. Consequently nearly all who formed the inner circle became more or less passionate cigar smokers.”

Hans Sachs

More Quotations ▸
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