Arman Kaymakcian, the author of the poem “To the Bone,” has published his debut memoir, “He Calls Me Redeemed.”
In “He Calls Me Redeemed,” Arman explores his past at the intersection of faith, addiction, abuse, family, culture, and death. He walks the reader through his life, typical in some ways but painted with a unique touch of Armenian culture and the harsh realities of sexual abuse in his drug-rich Jersey Shore community. As a boy, he tries to manage the pain of being sexually abused while stumbling toward manhood. Young Arman looks up to his loving father. His father, however, holds a tragic secret inside. His father’s struggles foreshadow his own path, culminating in gripping drug addiction and crime.
The depths of Arman’s addiction and anguish make rock bottom hard to reach. Hopeless and on the verge of suicide, Arman begs to be saved from his pain. It’s at that exact moment the love of God transforms him. What follows is an exploration of self on the other side of pain, which presents its own challenges. Despite his spiritual salvation and redemption, Arman reinforces the imagery of physical scars as he describes more heartbreak. Luckily for the reader, the final message is one of hope as the boy and son become a man and father, flawed and scarred but Redeemed.
A hotel on the beach served as a literal home for young Arman. In “He Calls Me Redeemed,” he takes us through his past via “rooms”, each containing salient memories and insights. The rooms are intimate, each having a look into his soul as he encounters family history, culture, religion, sex, drugs, death, and fatherhood. Arman’s appeal as an author is his ability to lay his naked truth on the pages without condition. He remains accountable throughout, allowing us to read his vividly detailed experiences as they were. He is not seeking redemption from the reader; we can simply take in his powerful story.
“This is a book for our time that we did not know we were longing for, being an answer ahead of the question: Who am I and what am I for? We’ve gone so far off the track, that to get back on board, we must hit bottom, and then return through our own naked, unformed, unrealized selves, to understand the truth of our being as a son or daughter of God. As a poet, I had been afraid for years to use God’s name, when it seemed to be urging itself on me, but as time went on I became more confident and assured that God was not something other, above and beyond me, but within my corpuscles, and so I stopped resisting, and my poetry became deeper, more real, and above all more loving, for me to see that going through all my life, the past has become more real than the present because love has been growing in me and was promising itself to me now as the ultimate truth, that was always there in my life, but not recognized as such, because God was somehow, I thought, outside of us, and was only now peeking in and affirming my work because He had my back, and was nudging me forward. I see all this now much more clearly, from my reading of this amazing book, and although I cannot promise anything like this for you, the reader, I am confident you will come out from this book better off than you were before you entered it,” said David Kheridan, the Newbery Award-winning author of “The Road from Home.”
Arman Kaymakcian is an Armenian-American author and poet. He was born in New Jersey in the 1980s. He grew up living between his Italian family on his mother’s side in Long Branch and his Armenian family in the historic town of Asbury Park. His life journey inspired him to begin writing. As a promise to himself, his first literary work is a product of his redemption in life. Arman writes from the perspective of an Armenian American, yet his story is very much American. His vast life experiences allow him to explore themes such as culture, crime, death, and spirituality with authenticity. “He Calls Me Redeemed” is his first memoir. Learn more about Kaymakcian by visiting his website.