Issue 435 | The Sun Magazine

March 2012

Readers Write


A pond mermaid, a trip to Cuba, pumpkin pies for the homeless

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
The First And Last Freedom

Obviously what causes war is the desire for power, position, prestige, money; also the disease called nationalism, the worship of a flag; and the disease of organized religion, the worship of a dogma.

By J. Krishnamurti
Sy Safransky's Notebook

March 2012

I woke up this morning on the third planet from the sun. In the twenty-first century. In the United States of America. Outside, the sky was still dark, but at the flip of a switch the room was flooded with light. Amazing!

By Sy Safransky


We are, perhaps uniquely among the earth’s creatures, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives, fearing the future, discontent with the present, unable to take in the idea of dying, unable to sit still.

Lewis Thomas

The Sun Interview

Side Effects May Include

Christopher Lane On What’s Wrong With Modern Psychiatry

There are more than a hundred more mental disorders in the DSM today than we had in 1968, including incredible new ones such as “sibling-relational problem” and even “partner-relational problem.”

By Arnie Cooper
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Tick Tick Boom

Every few days or so, when his loneliness becomes impossible to bear, Rodrigo leaves his Manhattan high school and goes to Central Park. He wanders off the paved roads and makes his way to the secluded, wooded trails, just a few blocks from the housing project in Harlem where he grew up. There he drifts and waits. He might lean against a tree or roam along a trail. Eventually a man will show up.

By Ryan Berg
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


My friend Tommy Crotty, who was a terrific basketball player in New York and went on to play college ball and be a cheerful husband and excellent dad before the idiot who just died in Abbottabad murdered him and thousands of people on September Eleventh, used to call every big guy he ever played with Meat.

By Brian Doyle

A Castle In Outer Space

There was a flutter in my rib cage, a somersault of uneasiness. I hadn’t witnessed such concentrated weirdness up close since my parents were alive: my father’s conspiracy theories and colon-cleansing elixirs; my mother’s ground-up lithium in a locket around her neck.

By Cynthia Weiner

Underneath The Armor

Four months into their seven-month tour, the mostly nineteen- and twenty-year-old marines at Patrol Base Fires in Sangin, Afghanistan, had seen enough violence to permanently line their boyish faces. Two of their platoon’s men had been killed by improvised explosive devices [IEDs], one of them blown literally in two.

text and photos by Elliot D. Woods

White Lady Of Once A Week

The child lolls half-asleep in the front seat. / “Why do it start and then stop?” The rain, she means. / “The clouds are banging into each other,” I tell her, / which is what someone told me when I was her age, seven.

By Alison Luterman

After the e-mail saying you forgave me

It was about the time the first / poplar leaves turn yellow. / The cottonmouth, thick as a muscular arm, / slid into the water at my feet.

By Ralph Earle