Issue 254 | The Sun Magazine

February 1997

Readers Write


Communal living, free love, a chicken coop

By Our Readers


Ideologies . . . have no heart of their own. They’re the whores and angels of our striving selves.

John Le Carre

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Our Days

After my father died in 1973, my grandmother put newspaper over all the first-floor windows at night. Sometimes I wonder if she was more afraid of looking out than of someone looking in. She’d wait until after the six o’clock news to do the chore.

By Mary Cross
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Reading Between The Lines

How Compulsory Schooling Has Failed Us

Modern schooling is a kind of religion. Its goal is most certainly not to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, and thinking, although sometimes learning happens because teachers — and even administrators — don’t realize the kind of enterprise in which they are engaged. But this does not happen too often.

By John Taylor Gatto
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

To Raze A Village

The Modernization Of A Thousand-Year-Old Culture

Ladakh is a high-altitude desert on the Tibetan Plateau in northernmost India. To all outward appearances, it is a wild and inhospitable place. In summer the land is parched and dry; in winter it is frozen solid by fierce, unrelenting cold.

By Helena Norberg-Hodge
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


Shortly before her stroke, she broke up with a lover younger than my brother and I. That was Mom. Born at home in Brooklyn during the Depression, she did group therapy with murderers by day, and by night maintained a small private psychiatric practice.

By Andrew Ramer
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

If I Were God

If I were God, I would make a world exactly like this one. I love its inconsistencies, its contradictions. I love it that this river flows around stones and finds its own way.

By Pat Schneider

Green-Eyed Dog

I am nineteen, a pale pimply suburbanite so thin my knees and elbows knife through my clothes. I have learned almost everything I know from television and Time magazine. I was once afraid of the world, worldophobic, but down here if you show your fear you will be eaten alive.

By Poe Ballantine

Annie, The Loaves And The Fishes

On Sundays I go to the country, to Arandale, to sit on Annie’s rotting deck and look up at the sky, so soaked in blue today it could almost collapse. This is Annie’s sky, and I need to witness it with her every week, just as I need to stack firewood with her and wash my hands in her cold water. Without Annie, I’d be just a shadow blowing around the big city. Annie colors me in, makes me real.

By Jane Webster