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The Sun Magazine

Sy Safransky's Notebook

December 1995

I keep imagining that someday I’ll get caught up: write those letters, read those books. What a great imagination! My plans smile at me from tomorrow, always tomorrow. And here it is, always today.

October 1997

We live under the shadow of the Holocaust, of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, of the killing fields of Cambodia — but the world does not seem particularly restrained by the memory of these events. Let’s not forget, here on the cusp of the twenty-first century, that new calendars are still made from trees; that the same old ax delivers the blow.

December 1996

The days blur into one another. The years. I eat too fast. I try to slow down, but something keeps pushing me forward. To the next bite. The next sentence.

August 1996

Oh perfect word, shaped to meaning like a body without an ounce of fat: supple, strong, walking through the centuries like a god.

January 1998

My struggle to be more aware, to live each day fully, is no harder or easier no matter who’s in the White House. I’ll always be alienated from those in power; someone like Bill Clinton will always claim to speak for me. Still, I don’t want to be another discouraged radical wringing my hands. I look around: I see incredible beauty, incredible desolation. I need to remember that reality is bigger than anything I can say about it. When I try to pin a tail on the world, I always miss by a mile.

January 2000

Fear is nearby. God seems impossibly distant. Fear comforts me in a voice that’s so familiar. God’s voice comes to me as the barest whisper. I’m rarely quiet enough to hear it.

July 2015

I woke up late. I suppose I needed the extra sleep, but it’s a bad way to start the day, like waking to the news that your country has done something wrong again (cut taxes for the rich; started another war), and it’s not exactly your fault — after all, you were sleeping — but it makes you ashamed nonetheless.

April 2015

I’m looking at today’s impossibly long to-do list. To accomplish everything on it will take more than twenty-four hours. To not accomplish everything will leave me ill-prepared to leave town tomorrow.