Issue 398 | The Sun Magazine

February 2009

Readers Write


Making green-chili stew, answering an ad in the “Casual Encounters” section of Craigslist, writing the number 8

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
Who Dies?

When we realize we are already dead, our priorities change, our heart opens, and our mind begins to clear of the fog of old holdings and pretendings.

By Stephen and Ondrea Levine
Sy Safransky's Notebook

February 2009

And now Obama is about to take possession of a 233-year-old country that’s been looted and vandalized — plumbing broken, wiring stripped, floorboards ripped up, roof caved in.

By Sy Safransky


The sound of laughter is like the vaulted dome of a temple of happiness.

Milan Kundera

The Sun Interview

In The Jester’s Court

Paul Krassner On The Virtues Of Irreverence, Indecency, And Illegal Drugs

There seems to be a mass awakening in process, comparable to the evolutionary jump in consciousness that took place during the sixties. It gives me a sense of hope, as well as a sense of continuity, that countercultural values have “infiltrated” the mainstream: the peace movement, organic food, protecting the rain forests, environmental sustainability, growing hemp, recycling waste, racial equality, feminism, animal rights, renewable energy. The seeds that were planted then continue to blossom, and the counterculture that began in the sixties continues to be celebrated at such annual events as the Rainbow Gathering, Burning Man, Earthdance, the Oregon Country Fair, and the Starwood Festival.

By David Kupfer
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Gar Killer

When I was six, my mother finally got tired of the beatings and left my father for good. I remember the final blow: I was standing outside, looking through the front-door window at my father mercilessly pounding my mother’s face into the checked tile floor of our run-down two-bedroom house on the outskirts of Slidell, Louisiana.

By Louis E. Bourgeois
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


We bought our rabbit seven years ago from a Frenchwoman named Daphne who owned the Country Inn restaurant on Route 28. Daphne bred two types of rabbits: those for soup, and those for pets. Violet chose ours from the pet bin: a white female with gray “points,” meaning its ears, paws, and tail were gray. The rabbit was four months old and seven inches long.

By Sparrow
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

My Father’s Art

Photography suited my father, loner that he was. He’d come home from his job as an airline pilot, give Mother a peck on the cheek before changing out of his uniform, and drive off again with at least one of his three Rolleiflex cameras. When I was a child growing up in North Carolina during the early fifties, he’d acknowledge me only if I was in his direct path.

By Mary Zelinka
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Dead Book

I like to take my time when I pronounce someone dead. The bare-minimum requirement is one minute with a stethoscope pressed to someone’s chest, listening for a sound that is not there; with my fingers bearing down on the side of someone’s neck, feeling for an absent pulse; with a flashlight beamed into someone’s fixed and dilated pupils, waiting for the constriction that will not come.

By Jane Churchon

Final Dispositions

People think that crazy is achieved when one day the gale-force wind makes a final, violent tear, and your little craft slips its mooring. Oh, no. It is achieved by you, who, one knot at a time, untie the tethers, whimsically at first, and then with some — or sometimes no known — purpose.

By Linda McCullough Moore

I’m Not Saying It Happens Like This

You and the stranger to your left and the stranger to your right are one, without the barrier of language between you. Like beads of rain on a windowpane, you merge.

By Bruce Holland Rogers