Issue 285 | The Sun Magazine

September 1999

Readers Write


A wrong-way driver, a good little girl, a billionaire

By Our Readers


There comes a time in a man’s life when to get where he has to go — if there are no doors or windows — he walks through a wall.

Bernard Malamud

The Sun Interview

A Rage To Live

An Interview With Leonard Kriegel

I think crippled is the best word because it’s the most accurate. As a writer, I think language is supposed to be strong and definitive, and should speak of what is. Even the sound of crippled tells you something. It has a harshness about it that speaks to the condition. The writer’s job is to communicate an experience, and when you abstract from it with terms like “differently abled,” there’s no way you can communicate the pain of not being able to use your legs and the rage that is an inevitable concomitant of that pain.

By Dan Wakefield
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Falling Into Life

Over the past five years, as I have moved into the solidity of middle age, I have become aware of a surprising need for symmetry. I am possessed by a peculiar passion: I want to believe that my life will balance out. And because I once had to learn to fall in order to keep this life mine, I now seem to have convinced myself that I must also learn to fall into death.

By Leonard Kriegel
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Before The Fall, The Fullness

My son Josh once wrote me a letter in which he described hiking alone in the mountains of Ecuador, fourteen thousand feet above sea level. The tiny lights of a village shone below him, and the snowcapped cone of a volcano was visible in the distance. “The stars and planets are incredibly low, large, and brilliant here,” he wrote. The tone of his letter was ecstatic, like Sufi poetry — love and immanence spiced with joy.

By Gene Zeiger
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

A Good Enough Daughter

I was hopeful as I drove my parents’ snow-covered car from their house in Shaker Heights to the Judson Park Retirement Community, where they now resided, at the edge of downtown Cleveland. After several months, Judson still seemed satisfactory to me.

By Alix Kates Shulman


Three weeks after my father came home from the hospital, I started stealing groceries. It would surprise you how easy it is: so long as you have a full cart, they never suspect you.

By Margo Rabb

The Bribe

Grace and I had agreed to pick up Paul at the airport in Guatemala City. Suzie, Paul’s girlfriend and our fellow Peace Corps volunteer, had to build chicken coops in a village near Santiago and couldn’t leave in time to meet him, so she’d asked us to go in her place.

By Mark Brazaitis

Dr. Harris’s Residence

I remember being alone with my father only a few times. That person, a man, my father, was the tallest human. His hair was black, and darkness covered him in long, smooth suits, which now I recognize as beautifully tailored.

By Gillian Kendall