Issue 428 | The Sun Magazine

August 2011

Readers Write

Paying Attention

A sailboat, a last request, a pair of monarch butterflies

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

The Attentive Mind

The kind of attention which I would like to discuss is entirely different from what we usually mean by attention, and it has immense possibilities because it is not exclusive.

By J. Krishnamurti


All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together.

Jack Kerouac

The Sun Interview

What Did You Dream Last Night?

Marc Ian Barasch On What The Psyche Is Trying To Tell Us

Dreams tell us how we really feel about something. Let’s say we are in a job that we hate: our dreams may tell us that we are dying in that situation. Dreams use a lot of hyperbole. As I said, they are like ancient Greek plays: the characters wear big costumes to make sure we see them. But if we are willing to find the truth in those exaggerations, our lives open up. We become more authentic and less the product of social constructs.

By Barbara Platek
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Lily In Darkness

On the day that Hot Springs, Arkansas, became an underwater city, I got up at about ten in the morning and heated some leftover spaghetti for breakfast. I was living in a furnished corner flat that rented for two hundred a month, utilities paid, above Prince Electronics and was pleased to have my own bathroom and also a small kitchen for the first time in a period of extended itinerancy.

By Poe Ballantine
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

His Weirdness

Let’s go feed the sparrows with him. You will not be surprised to hear that he has a weird thing going with feeding the birds: a different seed every week, and he keeps track of which ones they like. He has a piece of paper pinned up on the garage near the bird feeder with his charts on it and also, God help me, a section for comments from the birds, with a little tiny pencil.

By Brian Doyle
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

My Anti-Zen Zen

What’s befuddling is that I can’t figure out whether our days are passing at warp speed or at a geologic pace. If I could gain some distance on them, they would probably resemble a large Western river in runoff: so brimming at the banks that the casual observer might think the water is moving leisurely over stones, but soon a cottonwood trunk or fence post comes hurtling past, and the current’s true velocity becomes evident.

By Chris Dombrowski

Her Name Was The Whippoorwill

“They say that sometimes birds sing to attract a mate,” he told Renee, “but often they sing just because they love it. They love the way it sounds and the way it makes them feel. It delights them.”

By Christian Zwahlen

Be Near Me

The last conversation I had with Hamish when he was alive and well — or seemed well, because even then the cancer had begun its work — would’ve been about nine months before the funeral. About nine months, two weeks, five days, and thirteen hours. About that.

By Josie Charlotte Jackson

Latin American Dreams

From 1992 to 2007 Martín Weber photographed hundreds of Latin Americans, each holding a chalkboard on which he had asked them to “write down a wish or a dream you have.” His goal, he says, was to give his subjects added dimension by allowing the viewer a glimpse of their personal stories. In their brief messages we see evidence of economic and political struggles, of human failings and aspirations, of broken hearts and enduring love.

By Martín Weber


On those cold, clear winter mornings, I rise in the dark, and I sit / beneath a lamp with a pen and paper in a circle of light / barely bright enough for the work.

By Eric Paul Shaffer

Leaning Back In My Chair, Feet Up On The Garden Table

I find nothing to do / And fall asleep under the sun / Near my wife’s peony beds.

By Robert P. Cooke