Issue 386 | The Sun Magazine

February 2008

Readers Write


A hot, muffled bang; Germany in 1932; Tibetan flutes

By Our Readers
Sy Safransky's Notebook

February 2008

I didn’t want to go to the antiwar rally last night; I had too many things to do. But I always have too many things to do. I asked myself: Am I really too busy to exercise my right of dissent? Use it or lose it, Democracy whispered.

By Sy Safransky


The dying process begins the minute we are born, but it accelerates during dinner parties.

Carol Matthau

The Sun Interview

Going Underground

Paul Stamets On The Vast, Intelligent Network Beneath Our Feet

A mycelial “mat,” which scientists think of as one entity, can be thousands of acres in size. The largest organism in the world is a mycelial mat in eastern Oregon that covers 2,200 acres and is more than two thousand years old. Its survival strategy is somewhat mysterious. We have five or six layers of skin to protect us from infection; the mycelium has one cell wall. How is it that this vast mycelial network, which is surrounded by hundreds of millions of microbes all trying to eat it, is protected by one cell wall? I believe it’s because the mycelium is in constant biochemical communication with its ecosystem.

By Derrick Jensen
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Thousand-Peso Suit

Still, I love that line by poet Rainer Maria Rilke: “A good marriage is that in which each appoints the other guardian of his solitude.” But my wife is not familiar with Rilke, and solving our difficulties is not a matter of my explaining things to her. I’ve been doing that for three years, in two languages, and neither of us has changed.

By Poe Ballantine
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The First Cut

I was raised in a family of four girls. When my sisters and I are together, we speak a private language composed largely of different pitches of laughter that causes our exasperated father to demand to know what’s so funny. I am most at home when I am sharing clothes, secrets, and a bathroom with other women.

By Krista Bremer
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

You Are An Awful Parent

Suddenly you have a crisis: You’re tired of parenting. You’ve had it with this kid. You would give her back, but there’s no one to give her to. It’s too humiliating to offer her up for adoption. I am a fucking awful parent, you think. And you are a fucking awful parent. Join the club. There are about 150 million of us in the U.S.A. at the moment.

By Sparrow

The Empathic

I no longer felt I had to “let go” of my first family, as some had counseled. I had two daughters, one I held in my arms and one I held in my memory, but both were equally real. In this new present I could remember and cherish Doria without pain. Feeding Laura in her highchair, I told her that Doria had opened her mouth the same way, like a baby bird.

By Varley O’Connor

Circus Act

“In the circus,” photographer Gordon Stettinius writes, “reality becomes mutable and life an illusion. . . . Everything is not necessarily what it purports to be. But then, what is?”

By Gordon Stettinius