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Body, Remember

A Memoir

Kenny Fries

Publication Year: 2003

In this poetic, introspective memoir, Kenny Fries illustrates his intersecting identities as gay, Jewish, and disabled. While learning about the history of his body through medical records and his physical scars, Fries discovers just how deeply the memories and psychic scars run. As he reflects on his relationships with his family, his compassionate doctor, the brother who resented his disability, and the men who taught him to love, he confronts the challenges of his life. Body, Remember is a story about connection, a redemptive and passionate testimony to one man’s search for the sources of identity and difference.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Front Matter

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pp. xi-xviii

Until recently, stories about people who live with disabilities have been written by the nondisabled. And most of the stories, even when written by a person with a disability, center on the experience of one person. This narrative, familiar from television movies-of-the-week and films, tells of an individual overcoming his or her disability. These...

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One: Questions of Origin

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pp. 1-61

Those afternoons I did not take the bus and chose to walk home from high school, I would find this boy, maybe ten or eleven years old, sitting on the stoop of the semidetached house where I imagined he lived. Every time I passed, this boy asked: "Why are your legs the way they are?" And I would answer, "I was born that way," never stopping or...

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Two: Heat and White Stone

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pp. 63-123

For most of my life I have lived near water. When I wake in the middle of the night and cannot get myself back to sleep the sound of foghorns, sometimes distant, sometimes near, serves as the background for my fast-moving thoughts. No matter from what distance the foghorns sound, they are persistent and in their constancy echo...

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Three: Wishing for the Clothes of Heaven

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pp. 125-182

Years ago, toward the end of my bath, I called for my father. He entered the bathroom and knelt beside the tub. When I lifted my feet from the water, my father took the bar of soap, wet it, and as I rested my feet in his palm he gently slid the soap over my skin and between my toes....

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Four: A Difference in Time

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pp. 183-222

I am alone when the hurricane begins. Earlier, I heard about the hurricane's approach on the radio while driving into town. When I stopped off to mail a letter I was confronted by the sign on the counter: POST OFFICE WILL CLOSE AT NOON TO PREPARE FOR HURRICANE'S ARRIVAL. That's when I started to take the hurricane seriously...

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pp. 223-224

The author would like to thank the PEN Writers Fund and the Authors League Fund for financial support; the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, the MacDowell Colony, the Ragdale Foundation, Villa Montalvo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, for residencies that provided the time and care...

E-ISBN-13: 9780299190538
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299190545

Publication Year: 2003