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The Sun Magazine

Culture and Society


Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Penis That Killed Jeffrey City

I spent ten years working in the Poetry in the Schools program in Washington State, Alaska, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming. I went from school to school helping kids write poems. Once, in Miles City, Montana, I was trying to get across to a group of sixth-graders the power of our senses — as well as the dislocation and excitement we feel when we do something out of the ordinary. So I asked them to lick a tree.



It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts.

Bill Vaughan

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Stories Hollywood Never Tells

However hateful they may be sometimes, I have always loved the movies. When I began reading and studying history, I kept coming across incidents and events that led me to think, Wow, what a movie this would make. I would look to see if a movie had been made about it, but I’d never find one. It took me a while to realize that Hollywood isn’t going to make movies like the ones I imagined. Hollywood isn’t going to make movies that are class-conscious, or antiwar, or conscious of the need for racial equality or gender equality.



Once, while passing notes during a chemistry lecture, Jane and I decided we would each write on a piece of paper what articles of clothing we had not taken off on our last date. When we unfolded each other’s notes, we had both written the same thing: socks.


My Brother The Superhero

At dinner, Brandon — my son, your nephew — tells us how, on the kickball diamond today, he was called a pussy by Arthur, the decidedly overweight bully (as all second-grade bullies tend to be, complete with requisite learning disability). Since September, Arthur has developed an unfortunate interest in Brandon.



I used to be an expert on the atom bomb in the late fifties, thanks to Junior Scholastic magazine. Everyone in Mrs. Thompson’s fifth-grade class subscribed. We had to.

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