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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Channel One

Sitting by a dancing fire on this cold rainy Sunday, I feel lonely. Lil gently rubs the back of my neck. Robert and Phil strum guitars and sing bal­lads of loss, loneliness, and change. I sip dark red wine and am warmed by flames, alcohol, and love. My heart hurts, although I love and am loved. I do not know what I hurt about, but I do prefer this sadness to the numbness that preceded it. Sadness sobs in my stomach, chest, throat, mouth, eyes. I am heart sick. I feel myself longing for something or someone. I don’t know how to convert this sad­ness into something else. I re­alize as I complete this thought that I do not want to change my sadness; I would rather feel it.

another appetite

The human language has been quite abused lately, especially since technology allows equal time to the literate and illiterate. But my mourning weeds are donned for the fatal assault on the most beautiful and important word we have: LOVE. For centuries, poets have rhymed, playwrights have dramatized and novelists have fantasized, searching for ways to describe that most profound of emotions. And how they, too, would weep to watch its interment by the forces of politics and commerce (alias power and greed). We have witnessed the “politics of love” (and I disagree with many of my hopeful friends that good intentions and pragmatic morality can overcome the temptations and limitations of power) and we are urged daily to partake of the latest love potion offered by our advanced civilization (ranging from cosmetics to automobiles).

Right Livelihood

Are you a Briar? Well, you might be if you try to live simply, share resources and skills with others, and practice right livelihood rather than grasp for fame and riches.


Twenty years ago Duncan Hines described North Carolina as a gastronomical desert. Although far from the culinary equal of New York or San Francisco, Chapel Hill has come a long way since 1957. There are now six ethnic restaurants in town, all of which have opened in the last seven years: Tijuana Fats (Mexican), Krissa (Greek), Kobe (Japanese), China Nite (Cantonese), K.C. Hung’s China Inn and Mongolian Bar-B-Q (Chinese), and Peking Garden (Chinese).

Shadow Dancing

I AM RAGE. I am a storm, dark, heavy, omnipotent. I am unmitigated violence. I am fury, exploding, blinding lightning, roaring thunder, howling wind. I surge like the sea, uncontrollable in my rage.


The people I’ll carry to the grave with me to share the final analysis will be people like Woody Allen. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know him personally; his job is to scoop up all the images of the insecure-self, the bumbling ego, the out-of-proportion self in me and others, and show us what we look like, gently, with humor.

another appetite

It is April and the cold wind shears through Spring, sharp and strident, cutting away the warmth that had been nuzzling the earth. The daffodils have been shredded and the azaleas’ fragile blooms are scissored to limp bits of faded rag. We have been lucky, for the wind has had fiercer, funnel-shaped metamorphoses elsewhere. The neighbors worry about the fruit trees and flash flood warnings. The children gaze out the windows, wishing the trees would stop dancing so they can go out and dig in the warm, dark soil again. I don’t know if the little cubes of potato, tenderly placed in the ground to reproduce themselves, have any feelings about the change in weather, but if they could talk I’m sure they’d complain as vigorously as the old farmer in the hardware store. Ah, cruel April, to chill our newly wakened hopes of green Spring days!

Shadow Dancing

Contrary to plans made exactly one year ago, I awoke this morning, twenty-eight years old, and I still was not enlightened. Or, in the vocabulary of a friend who says “We’re all en­lightened, we just haven’t realized it yet,” I awoke still unrealized. I awoke still thinking that there are things I need to do, to be, in this lifetime. I still live with some residual dissatis­faction. I remember having a garden talk with a wise neighbor who says: “Life is filled with dissatisfaction. It’s that dissatisfaction, that frustration, that keeps us changing.”


In my tenderest fantasies of people I love but don’t want to scare with my feelings. I lay down with them and nap with them and feel full of us. Anybody I can’t comfortably reduce to a two or three-year-old child, I have a hard time relating to. Even those I see on the street and don’t know but am touched by, I reduce to toddlers. And we are playing together and then nap together side by side and I wake, but don’t move, and just feel the closeness of this person next to me, listen to their quiet breathing and lack of self-consciousness, so naked, and marvel that “he/she lives a completely different life from mine, but here we are together.”

Temple Sweeper

Eight years ago I decided to become a vegetarian. This decision corresponded roughly with a hazily conceptual political activism and very clearly with an infatuation with a male vegetarian. Since then, my friend has emigrated to Canada, my political expressions undergo periodic shifts and relocations, and concern for my diet has moved from the realm of “proof of lifestyle” to a central place in my efforts toward well being.