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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The High Diving Board

The high diving board is the first thing you see when approaching Forest Swimming Pool. It stands like a guard tower over the fence-enclosed pool. I’ve been watching this high diving board and the activity that surrounds it for thirty years. As a child I couldn’t wait to go off that precipice. When my turn came I did the best cannonball possible for someone wearing surfer trunks and not wanting to get his hair wet.

Mining The Lost Years

Even at the peak of my methamphetamine days, I would have had trouble talking for seven hours. I aim to please, however. A longing to please is both my weakness and my strength. It’s why I cook, why I write, why I take five years to get a sentence right, why I’m so goofily polite, why I reply to fan letters from prisoners.

On (Not) Reading Anne Frank

The first time someone told me I looked like Anne Frank was also the first conversation I had about pubic hair. Now, of course it’s possible the two topics weren’t actually discussed back to back and my subconscious simply saw an opening one night while I was asleep and stitched the two memories together.

The Wrong Imam

If we could have been inside his heart, if we could have been offered transportation from our Jerusalem to his heaven, this is what we might have absorbed: Abkar was not leading us in prayer. He was talking to God while we happened to be behind him, squeezed in so tightly we could hardly find places for our foreheads on flawless plush carpet.

Selling Out

I’ve started wearing a tie. To anyone who’s known me for the past fifteen years, this is highly improbable, as if I’d started wearing a dress. I didn’t even have a tie until recently, but I’ve been buying them at the Thrift Shop, for fifty cents each — modest, conservative ties. I’m not dressing as a clown. I’m trying to look like a businessman.

When The War-Father Appears

i can see the worst all right — the earth exploding in some climactic chain reaction and all of us going off sparking out at the same time and i think i am going to like it if it happens that way after all we’ll be learning something together something massive that we’ve been trying to understand for a while and in that final sparking and arcing of the earth’s blow-up we’ll finally get it we’ll understand

Pennies From Grandma

Best of all were the birds. . . . How there could have been so many, how there could have been such color in the midst of Bristol, I do not know; or even what part of the image after more than thirty years is factual. Memory becomes reality, and it is magic to me.

Telling Time

We rent a condominium together, my eighty-six-year-old widowed mother and I. Sometimes she summons me from her bedroom at the end of the hall. I have learned to guess from her tone what it is she wants.

The Twelve-Hour Shift

I was home on fall break in my final year at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and I needed money to pay tuition, so I was working a twelve-hour shift with my father at the ceiling-tile factory.