Issue 446 | The Sun Magazine

February 2013

Readers Write

Trying Too Hard

A horse, a gingerbread house, a clarinet

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from

I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.

By Henry David Thoreau
Sy Safransky's Notebook

February 2013

The days are getting shorter and so am I. It’s a fact. I used to be six feet tall. Last month, at my doctor’s office, the nurse checked my height and told me I was five feet ten and a half inches. I just looked at her.

By Sy Safransky


As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins.

Albert Schweitzer

The Sun Interview

Wrong Turn

Biologist Rupert Sheldrake On How Science Lost Its Way

I suggest that morphogenetic fields work by imposing patterns on otherwise random or indeterminate activity. Morphogenetic fields are not fixed forever, but evolve. The fields of Afghan hounds and poodles have become different from those of their common ancestors, wolves. How are these fields inherited? I propose that they are transmitted from past members of the species through a kind of nonlocal resonance, which I call “morphic resonance.”

By Mark Leviton
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Leaving Shenandoah

It’s November, almost Thanksgiving. On the phone my father is telling me how he’s been nauseated lately. He feels unstable, off balance. “Wobbly. Kind of dizzy. You know?” he says.

By C.J. Gall
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

And Now, Our Son On His Violin

My mother has been gone for some years, and though I do miss her and think of her with great fondness, part of me still has trouble forgiving how she would parade me out as a child to play my violin for unfortunate guests.

By Robert McGee
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


Feeling less alone — in the pool, in my grief — should be a comfort, but it robs you of something. We are possessive even of our pain. We become it, and even the suggestion that it could be shared is frightening. We want to be alone with it, to caress it and learn to love it like a child, saying, This is mine and mine only.

By Joel Peckham

Michael The Armadillo

They’d made it through all the Michaels, Carrie and Dan believed. They’d made it through Michael J. Fox’s comeback and Michael Vick’s arrest and Michael Douglas’s cancer, made it through the terrible summer when Michael Phelps won all those gold medals in swimming, and then the next terrible summer when Michael Jackson died on every channel for days and days.

By Susan Perabo

At The Padre Hotel In Bakersfield, California

It’s Saturday night, and all the heterosexuals / in smart little dresses and sport coats / are streaming into what we didn’t know / was the hoppingest spot between Las Vegas and LA.

By Ellen Bass


Fifth grade, summer of the green one-piece. / I was waiting out in front of the YMCA, downtown / Orlando, and there was a man on a motorcycle / under the portico where Mom picked me up.

By Heather Sellers

Some Marionettes

One afternoon years back, in a distant city, I found myself staring / into the window display of a toy store that some ingenious window / designer & puppet maker had fashioned of cardboard and papier-mâché / & painted to look like the very street I was on

By Steve Kowit