Issue 395 | The Sun Magazine

November 2008

Readers Write


Boarding school, a Southern drawl, fresh garlic

By Our Readers
Sy Safransky's Notebook

November 2008

No matter who’s elected president, writers will write. Painters will paint. Three in the morning will still be three in the morning. The door in our psyche we don’t want to walk through will still be just down the hall. No matter who’s elected president, life will hand us the invisible thread that connects us all; love will hand us the needle.

By Sy Safransky


The comfortable people in tight houses felt pity at first, and then distaste, and finally hatred for the migrant people.

John Steinbeck

The Sun Interview

Without A Country

Pramila Jayapal On The Problems Immigrants Face

The debate isn’t just about passion; it’s about policies that make sense for this country, are in keeping with our values, and are good for our economy. I don’t want somebody to agree with me because they’re taking pity on an immigrant. I want them to see that immigration reform is the right thing to do.

By Madeline Ostrander
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


About ten years ago Cristina was studying to become a dentist when she got flattened by a drunk driver while crossing a busy street in Zacatecas, Mexico. Her head hit the pavement, and she was knocked unconscious. She spent a month in bed with a fractured pelvis and much longer learning to walk again, but eventually she resumed her studies.

By Poe Ballantine
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Bad Luck Is Good Luck

I’ve been hired to play my saxophone at a wedding in Mazatlán, Mexico, and I decide to drive rather than fly there from my home in Boulder, Colorado. I buy a secondhand Volkswagen van from a smooth-talking salesman: a 1981 model with a fuel-injected engine, sparkling chrome, and an azure paint job — perfect for a trip through the Southwest.

By Stewart Brinton
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Gender Vertigo

As a Lesbian Avenger in San Francisco in the late nineties, I wore a lioness crew cut and crusaded against gender stereotypes. Still I believed fervently in femaleness; the word woman encompassed sisters, lovers, and self.

By Anna Mills
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


Isabel is ninety-one and stands about four and a half feet tall. She has blue-gray eyes, a gray mustache, and four gray hairs below her lower lip. I often see her wandering the corridors of the dementia unit in the nursing home where I work as a chaplain.

By Elana Zaiman
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Where Water Comes From

I felt a jolt. Since my father had left, no one had said the word sadness. I had heard the words stingy and schmuck, but sadness seemed obscene, even more taboo than the topic of sex. Sadness was like my period, something that came regularly, to be borne in silence.

By Kathryn Kefauver Goldberg

Somewhere In His Eyes

Somewhere in his eyes I see the five-year-old that he once was. I see him in the back of a kindergarten class, pacing, unable to sit down. I see him at home, leaning on the arm of a chair as his daddy blows marijuana smoke into his nostrils. Later he staggers around the room, making the grown-ups laugh.

By Gary L. Lark