Issue 426 | The Sun Magazine

June 2011

Readers Write

Rites Of Passage

Being laid off, going deer hunting, getting a divorce

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
In My Own Way

We begin from nothing and end in nothing. You can say that again. Think it over and over, trying to conceive the fact of coming to never having existed.

By Alan Watts
Sy Safransky's Notebook

June 2011

I used to worship the face in the mirror. He was the only god around. Year after year I made my sacrifice. Year after year he looked at me and frowned.

By Sy Safransky


Don’t laugh at a youth for his affectations; he is only trying on one face after another to find his own.

Logan Pearsall Smith

The Sun Interview

Against The Grain

Peter Coyote On Buddhism, Capitalism, And The Enduring Legacy Of The Sixties

Politicians are not leaders; they are followers. They think that, because they can plunder the public treasury, they are leading. In fact they are terrified of the people. The people are a problem for them to manage, and when they can no longer manage them, they must follow them, or oppress them.

By David Kupfer
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Dear Sugar

There are some things you can’t understand yet. Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding. It’s good that you’ve worked hard to resolve childhood issues while in your twenties, but understand that these issues will need to be resolved again. And again. Some things can be known only with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of them have to do with forgiveness.

By Cheryl Strayed
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

You Are Not Pretty

On the drive back to the dorm I think more about her comment. Pretty. Even the word sounds delicate, the tongue fluttering against the roof of the mouth like a trapped butterfly when it’s spoken. Alone in my room I take a look at myself in the mirror. I could almost be pretty — I am tall and long limbed, with blond hair and blue eyes — but I’m not.

By Krista Bremer
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

My Mother’s Burning Body

“The thing I remember most about watching my mother’s body burn,” my mother tells me in English, a language that has never quite served her, “is when I can smell her skin and hair as they are catching fire and crackling in the flame.”

By Jaed Muncharoen Coffin

Carolina Mill, 1932

In the spring of 1932, when I was twelve years old — the last year of my childhood, as I understood it — my grandfather left the farm and came to live with us. His wife, my mother’s mother, had just died, and he could no longer get loans to keep the farm going. My father had already given up farming a few years earlier, and we were living in the village outside the Bell cotton mill.

By Jon Sealy


The stain ran a trail down his pleated / Cords, but I didn’t quite register the fact, / And only later realized that it meant / He’d pissed himself.

By Mark Smith-Soto

Previous Love

Previous love, / think of the sky / above us still, / the parade / of clouds here, / he starlit evening / there

By Keith Althaus