Issue 415 | The Sun Magazine

July 2010

Readers Write


A ten-day camping trip, a blond wig tucked inside a plastic bag, Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
The Doors Of Perception

According to such a theory, each one of us is potentially Mind at Large. But insofar as we are animals, our business is at all costs to survive. To make biological survival possible, Mind at Large has to be funneled through the reducing valve of the brain and nervous system. What comes out at the other end is a measly trickle of the kind of consciousness which will help us to stay alive on the surface of this particular planet.

By Aldous Huxley
Sy Safransky's Notebook

July 2010

I admit it: My memory isn’t what it used to be. I forgot what number we’re supposed to dial when we see the Supreme Court leaving the scene of a crime — for what else to call yesterday’s 5–4 decision to kill campaign-finance reform?

By Sy Safransky


Ancient peoples invented rites of passage in part to break the spell of childhood and move the initiate from the mother’s lap to the lap of the world. To this day, a person must dismantle the spell of childhood or fail to find their place in life.

Michael Meade

The Sun Interview

Between Two Worlds

Malidoma Somé On Rites Of Passage

There are certain experiences that, once you become privy to them, shatter so many things you have learned. When a shaman in my village takes me to a cave, opens a portal to another world, and walks there and back again, I have to ask myself, “What kind of technology is this?” When this same shaman lifts himself off the ground — that is to say, levitates — I have to wonder, “What kind of technology is that?” When another shaman is capable of walking on water, I have to wonder, “What is the technology that enables him to float?” And so on and so on. But modern science has grown so grandiose that it is unwilling to break out of its narrow thinking to explore alternatives that might better serve human consciousness and the world.

By Leslee Goodman
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

A Prayer For The Dead

My car died today in Catskill, New York. Her name was Rhonda: Rhonda the Honda. My wife had her in reverse when we suddenly heard a loud CRONK and the front of the car sank to the ground. A ball joint had broken, and the left front wheel had fallen off. (Three people later told me we were lucky: if we’d been driving on the highway, our car might have flipped over!)

By Sparrow
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Not Another Word

When I signed up for a “silent vipassanâ yoga and meditation retreat” at the Esalen Institute, I didn’t even know what the word vipassanâ meant, but I wasn’t worried about it. I planned to use the week as a personal sabbatical. I’d get up at sunrise and bathe in the hot tubs overlooking the Pacific, then drift into the morning sessions for a bit of yoga or meditation, and spend afternoons writing in the loft of the big blue art barn.

By Gillian Kendall
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

My Father, The Tree

My father saved people’s lives for a living. It was his job; if he hadn’t been there all those hundreds of nights in the ER, it would’ve been someone else who saved them — some other mortal man or woman sanctified by the white coat and stethoscope, living on too much coffee and too little sleep, required to look self-assured as bleeding, broken, screaming bodies were wheeled in over and over, night after night.

By Judith Joyce

At Prayer Level

Perpetual care,” Mama emphasized. “No weeds growing over you or your loved ones when there’s nobody left to weed. (This was a comment on the fact that none of us had given her any grandchildren — no grave-weeders in her future, or “perpetuity,” as she was now calling it. Perpetuity was a concept Mama had latched onto like a snapping turtle.)

By Marjorie Kemper

Ramon Martinez Tells What Happened That Day

My name is Ramon. I am fifteen. One thing people don’t know about me is I saved one of the airplanes on September the eleven from hitting one of the towers. The south tower. No one knows this because I used my power to make everyone forget. There will be people who say I say it now to get credit for this paper due in school but that is not the reason, the reason is people should know what I can do so they don’t mess with me. People did mess with me before and that is how I develop my power. It is a strong power as you will hear now.

By Brian Doyle


Mother came to visit today. We / hadn’t seen each other in years. Why didn’t / you call? I asked. Your windows are filthy, she said.

By Mark Irwin