A man with the right scruffed-up beard and breadth of chest swaggered into the S and M dungeon that was my place of business, and twenty minutes and one grand later had my chin — still soft with the downy fluff of teen-girl skin — held steady in one paw while the other one flew at my face so hard and fast that I ceased to exist as the same collection of matter I had been the previous instant.
When Sarah’s mother, Penny, got sick four years into our marriage, we decided to move back to Mississippi, considering it penance for the sins of our youth. We signed a lease on a house, a white one-story on the historical register with a wraparound porch and angels, stars, and the moon painted on the transom above the front door.
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Congratulations to Sun editorial intern, Anna Gazmarian, whose work will appear in an anthology of personal essays by voices from the Armenian diaspora. The anthology will be edited by Aram Mrjoian and published by the University of Texas Press. Other featured authors include Liana Aghajanian, Hrag Vartanian, and Aline Ohanesian. Anna’s piece is about her great-grandmother, who gave Anna an audio recording of an interview in which she describes surviving the Armenian Genocide. This tape inspired Anna to write about memory, history, erasure, and suffering. While dealing with depression in college, obsessing over the survival of people like her ancestors became Anna’s coping mechanism.
Anna recently graduated with an MFA from Bennington College. The featured image is from her last trip to Bennington, where she lectured about mental illness in memoir, participated in a reading, and then started dancing in celebration of finishing her degree. She’s currently working on her first essay collection. When she’s not reading submissions, Anna has been helping out with customer service. She’s enjoyed getting to know Sun readers but, most of all, she’s loved the opportunity to correspond with people who are incarcerated. Anna believes stories can change lives and she hopes that receiving the magazine inspires them to tell their stories while providing hope during a difficult time.