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The Sun Interview

Righteous Babe

Ani DiFranco On Music, Politics, And Staying Independent

You have to practice tuning out the noise of the culture to hear the messages transmitted from your gut and your heart. You have to become like a bird-watcher and be vigilant and develop the skills to spot and name the quick flash of awareness in yourself.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Of The Brave

I was driving home from a visit with a friend one night last February. I was thinking about getting some ice cream, and I fought the usual battle in my head — about using sweets to comfort myself, and whether to be weighed down by feelings or by fat. I was thinking about my friend, and the stubborn pain in each of us, the legacy of our pasts. I was thinking about the war with Iraq. A ground war was imminent, the radio said.

Readers Write

Race

Growing up in an affluent California suburb, I had limited contact with minorities. I surrounded myself with others just like me, and we created a homogeneous, tightly-knit group from which we excluded all those who didn’t “fit.” When my mother tried to talk with me about global events, I brushed her off, assuring her that what happened halfway around the world didn’t have any connection with my life.

Fiction

God Is Dead

Disguised as a young Dinka woman, God came at dusk to a refugee camp in the North Darfur region of Sudan. He wore a flimsy green cotton dress, battered leather sandals, hoop earrings, and a length of black-and-white beads around his neck. Over his shoulder he carried a cloth sack which held a second dress, a bag of sorghum, and a plastic cup.

The Sun Interview

Dangerous Love

Reverend Lynice Pinkard On The Revolutionary Act Of Living The Gospels

For me, churches exist only to serve people and planet. The church is not an empire, a way for leaders to build monuments to themselves, for congregants to take pride in the curb appeal that a lovely edifice affords. The church is not a building. The church is an extension of Christ — literally Christ’s body — and an alternative to the militaristic, consumerist, alienated way of life that has become the norm.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Beautiful Trouble

Subtitled A Toolbox for Revolution, the anthology Beautiful Trouble offers advice on how to plan and execute successful protest actions. Coeditors Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell have assembled the wisdom of many activists and troublemakers like themselves into a book about what works and what doesn’t, how to recruit people and keep them engaged, and where to direct efforts for the greatest impact.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Smoke

For years now my brother has gone by the name Captain Smoke, or Smoke for short. I’ve always figured it’s a reference to his chain-smoking cheap cigarettes, but it could be about marijuana. I’ve never asked. I do know that living with our father off and on for more than three decades, as Smoke did, would drive anyone crazy enough to come up with an alter ego.

Fiction

Where You Could End Up

I’ve been staying with my friend Jackson, and I’m wearing his large red flannel jacket with the blue padding inside. I hope he lets me keep it. It’s a comfortable jacket, and I’d freeze otherwise. The wind is blowing. In Chicago in the winter, the wind chill is the only measurement that matters. I wish Maria would get here before the cold sinks into me permanently.