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The Sun Magazine

Special Section

September 11, 2001

A Special Sunbeams Supplement

On September 11, 2001, our staff gathered around a radio and listened incredulously to the news that terrorists had attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Someone rushed home to get an old TV. We fashioned an antenna from a coat hanger, and through the snow and static emerged the images that would grow so appallingly familiar in the days to come.

Doing What I Do


I make patchwork quilts for a living. I like setting my own hours and taking an afternoon nap if I want to. The work itself is satisfying.I like the requirements of precision, order, and efficiency. I like working with color — seeing how different color combinations affect my mood and make my stomach feel. I like working with fabric, the softness and the strength. It is satisfying to have simple tools in good order-sharp sewing shears, a well-oiled sewing machine. I like working with very large pieces of fabric, needing to use the strength of my back and arms. I like making something beautiful, and being able to let it go out into the world, knowing that I could make that beautiful thing again, or some other beautiful thing. It also feels good that my handiwork is useful, that it will be keeping people warm, greeting them in the morning sunlight, welcoming them to bed at night, and giving them something to look at when they’re sick in bed, too sick to do anything but stare feebly at the quilt!

Doing What I Do

Studying Buddhism; Growing Trees

It didn’t take long to see that I had no talent for making money. Sure, my mother was disappointed, but I figured she’d get over it. As the years rolled by, it became apparent that trees and eastern religions were my lot in life.