Welcome to Sazeracs, Smoky Ink.
We’ve spent the past few months arranging roses, roasting peaches and decanting rosé in preparation for your arrival. We are so excited to welcome you to our inaugural dinner party—and not only because it’s our first. But also because we've assembled an extraordinary buffet of rich talent and exquisite writing for this warm-weather meal.
We started this publication with the idea of community, so, naturally, we were thrilled to discover many of our contributors for this first issue writing toward the textured intimacies of family and relationships. For instance, in the lounge you’ll find Hayley Folk discussing the viscous nature of a strained mother-daughter bond (“Love As I Know It”); Stone Erickson Mims examining the complicated conversations that take place in certain American households (“An Incident on the Playground”); and poet Rodney Leonard giving an ode to a beguiling cousin (“Concerning Cousin Twyla”) over pre-dinner Moscow Mules. Settle in next to Jonny Keshishoglou by the fire pit to hear about the liminal space between a reluctant uncle and his niece (“Please Go To Bed ”), or share a Campari with Siobhan Bledsoe who considers the point when parental care tips into a tax (“Bang”).
The social set can be found over by the loveseat where, munching on bruschetta and baked brie, they trade stories about a tense date (“Second Date” by Mark Souza), a celebratory drink at the bar (“Deus Ex Machina” by Camille Smaby) and eavesdropping on the West Coast (“Beverages, San Francisco” by Lorraine Martindale). Natalee Cruz, Kyle Rea and Sara Stevenson will be in the crowd passing trays of love poems and boy toys and cherry pie.
And as the night begins to turn over, don’t think we’d let it pass without dessert. Have your affogato and lemon-raspberry chiffon cake al fresco in the late summer evening while contemplating the last weekend in July with Zach Murphy, snowflakes in January with Will Turner (“Used To”), thunder in Texas with Kate Koenig (“Summoning Thunder”) and the changing of seasons with Grace Shields (“To Everything There is a Season”). If you feel inclined to send your regards once the party’s over, we’ll let Tiffany Babb instruct you in “The Art of Writing the Literary Thank You Note."
Of course, you’ll want to navigate the night with a Sazerac in hand. We’ve mixed our signature cocktail the only way we know how: With cognac (Fiction), bitters (Essays), absinthe (Nonfiction) and a chilled glass (Comics). And, no Sazerac is complete without a sugar cube (Poetry) to sweeten your night. So a toast to you, our dear readers, because without you, our table would be empty.
Susan, Vanessa & Lauren
THE AUGUST ISSUE
"They say that a person can only break your heart if you hand it to them first. But, I never handed my mother my heart."
"When I was 8 years old, my father began my education in colors. The curricular in colors for a Black child began with the color blue."
THE LAST WEEKEND IN JULY
By Zach Murphy