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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Anne

How could so much intelligence and substance so quickly become lost? A powerful presence was gone from our lives. I carefully laid her head back down on the cool earth beside a big bouquet of dandelion flowers that Leslye must have left earlier in the day. Dandelions were always Anne’s favorite.

Foreign Coasts

It’s already sweltering at sunrise on this August Sunday morning in Norfolk, Virginia. My Lebanese grandfather is taking my brother and me fishing for blue crabs on the Elizabeth River. He stands on the dock and drops the oars into the flat-bottomed rowboat.

The Art Of Aging

As you read this essay, you are aging. The older you get, the more you become an emissary from a vanished world — in my case, a world of black-and-white photographs taken by a Brownie camera, the sun bleaching the faces of the squinting subjects.

A List Of My Utopias

My mother is a wood thrush, and my father is a great snipe. They aren’t my parents in this utopia. They’re birds who met once, then drifted apart, as birds do, so they could lead their own lives and become who they were meant to be. They have no children, bird or otherwise, tugging them in a different, boring direction.

Steps One Through Four

While my father was stationed in Germany and dating my mother, he wrote her a letter saying, “Someday I’d like to have twins with blond hair and blue eyes.” Twenty-seven years later, here I am, one of his identical blond-haired, blue-eyed twin girls.

The Music And The Masses

And so it was pronounced: there would be a gathering of the multitude, and musicians would play and fireworks would light the sky. The people were joyous, for they had just beheld the resignation of a powerful leader who had sought to rule through discrediting these free people. A note of justice was to be heard through the festival.

Love Your Enemies

The title “visiting instructor” suited me. Born into a life of hippie nomadism (even living out of a van at one point in my childhood), I’d been roaming since I’d left home at seventeen. An impulsive enrollment in graduate school at the age of thirty had been intended to impose order on my life, but at thirty-five I was as adrift as ever.

Bella

How do you know when it’s time to take your autistic, bipolar twelve-year-old daughter to the psych ward? (They call them “behavioral units” now.) Is it when you find yourself sitting on her back and holding her arms to the ground while your wife lies on her legs? When she head-butts you the first time? The fifth? When she spits in your face?

Death Of A Fisherman

We lived in a place between mountains in the trout lands. The fish dwelt in the chill of eternal movement, slick and lithe and beautiful, in the curve of sapphire rivers twinkling with western sun. This was why we’d moved to Montana when I was a boy — to chase fish, in the church of my father’s religion.