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The Sun Magazine

Sy Safransky's Notebook

February 2012

I need to cut more pages from my upcoming book, so I’m trying to keep in mind William Faulkner’s advice to writers: “You must kill all your darlings.” No more procrastinating over whether a particular Notebook entry deserves a berth or needs to walk the plank.

January 2012

It took twice as long as I thought it would, and it’s only half as good as I’d hoped, but the first draft of my book is finished. This morning our cat Zooey walked across my desk and vomited on the manuscript. My first bad review.

July 2011

I didn’t feel like writing today, but here I am, lacing up my writing shoes. Here I am, lumbering around the track. That’s all it takes, the coach says. Just keep putting one word in front of the other.

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.

May 2011

Nature, too, is an editor. Isn’t evolution a force that shapes all living things? It’s no surprise, then, that the sentences we struggle to create must climb out of the muck, dragging their tails behind them; stand up; stand tall.

April 2011

Sure I work hard. So do many other people. I try to remember something my friend Robert once said: “All those doctors who complain that they worked so hard in medical school — compared to who? Someone who digs ditches all day? Someone who works two shifts at McDonald’s?”

March 2011

What if we extended as much kindness and generosity to everyone as we do to our own children and grandchildren? It’s shameful that I still make a distinction between the small number of people who matter the most to me and the nearly 7 billion other humans on the planet.

February 2011

Every year, new words are added to the language — too many, if you ask me. Nouns are dragged into alleys, beaten into submission, then sent back into the world dressed as verbs like “transitioning” or “gifting” or, if you pardon my English, “languaging.”

January 2011

I haven’t written in more than a week. Forgive me, O Muse, for being absent without leave. Maybe it’s the Prozac. Maybe it’s the rain. Maybe it’s because I’m too damn vain. Can’t I put down simple words and send them out the door?

November 2010

Summer is getting ready to pack her bags and disappear; she’ll probably break records for the hottest ever. Let’s hope that string theory is right, and in some parallel universe we haven’t made the same blunders, and the earth is doing just fine, thank you, and a hot summer day is just a hot summer day.