The process of aging is frequently coupled with fear — the changing landscape of our bodies, the deterioration of mind, and the unknowability of death can lead to states of acceptance, terror, or rage, depending on the individual. How do our relationships with our family members change as we watch them age in front of our eyes?
Finding strength, self, and voice through the turmoil of bitterly divorced parents and an emotionally abusive misogynistic father, I discover who I am and who I want to be. This essay begins the exploration of my journey, learning to become whomever I needed to be in order to appease those around me. This piece talks about me learning to find my voice and stand up for myself.
The following short story focuses on how one learns to accept and heal from the hurt they felt from the most intimate of places — childhood. How do we forgive ourselves and, therefore, others?
“Being a new parent is nice, but not always. Sure, the days are filled with tiny laughs and lots of firsts, but sometimes they’re filled with cries, and sometimes you miss the firsts because you’re off crying in your car. Nothing is always nice, but nothing is awful all the time, either. I hope these poems convey in a real, human way how it is to have an infant.” — Rich Glinnen
How do we come to terms with death, injustice, the artistic impulse, family, the past, and — most difficult of all — with one’s own demons? Each of these poems represent a dialogue between the heart and the mind as mediated by the soul, which tries to reach an understanding of life. Isn’t that what the human condition is really all about?
“The Ones Who are Left Behind: An Armenian Story” details the close relationship the author had with her great aunt (who witnessed the murder of her family), the author’s search for identity, and a reckoning with a brutal collective past. The essay explores how trauma can travel through generations as the author self-reflects on her struggle to harness her emotions to get better, not bitter. Nestled within this personal essay, there is a universal message of hope and healing from suffering and loss.
“The Abscondment” explores the seductiveness of saving a community over tending to the needs of a child — is one more important than the other? Can selflessness, anti-materialism, and community work justify child neglect?
As humans, we are relational beings. Most obviously, we develop and rely on relationships with others (e.g., family, friends, or work associates), creating a sense of community. Less obvious are the relationships we create with ourselves, with activities we do that give us purpose, and with nature. The following poetry collection touches on a variety of impactful relationships between an individual and the self; parents, grandparents, and cherished things; community during a crisis; tribal/clan culture; and God and nature. Who are we if not a compilation of who and what we choose to surround ourselves with?
In the popular mind, older generations are generally more conservative and younger ones more open-minded and willing to embrace change. It’s a dynamic often played out in popular culture — think of the conservative administrators in Dead Poets Society who don’t take well to an upstart professor with an unconventional approach to teaching young minds. The modern history of the United States is a primer in the tension between generational values. The baby-boomer generation (the hippies and protestors and activists) are widely seen as having broken free of the traditional ethos handed down by elders and as having applied idealism and passion in the name of promoting peace and building a better world. But the real picture is far more complex than the stereotypes. In some cases, members of the younger generation turned out to be more conservative than their elders. The following family history challenges generational stereotypes by describing how a mother, who lived in New York at a time of radical upheaval, found a very different political identity from that of her progressive mother.