About My Life and the Kept Woman. A Memoir by John Rechy

By John Rechy

Gore Vidal has hailed John Rechy as “one of the few unique American writers of the final century,” and Michael Cunningham has referred to as him an writer “whose existence is sort of as fascinating, and significant, as his work.” Rechy’s long-awaited memoir,About My existence and the stored Woman, is the author’s first open remedy of his life—and a testomony to the ability of satisfaction and self-acceptance. Raised Mexican-American in El Paso, Texas, at a time whilst Latino kids have been typically segregated, Rechy used to be usually assumed to be Anglo due to his mild pores and skin, and had his identify “changed” for him by way of a instructor, from Juan to John. As he grew older—and as his fascination with the reminiscence of a infamous stored girl in his formative years deepened—Rechy turned acutely aware that his alterations lay not only in his background, yet in his sexuality. A relocating, robust tale of a existence that bears witness to a few of the main riotous alterations of the past...

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I saw a run-down car nearby, propped up on bricks, but it seemed incapable of lugging the trailer. Three or four children roamed in and out, never straying from the area of the wagon or from a swarthy older man and woman. These two—she with a headband, he with a pipe whose embers gleamed on and off like disturbed spirits—sat on makeshift steps in the late evening when the Texas sun turned bloody on the desert horizon. Pondering what, plotting what? Behind a barricade of giant tumbleweeds abandoned by a recent windstorm, I studied them, fascinated, for what seemed like hours.

As if there was an invisible wall that the man and the woman had constructed, she would halt, not stepping beyond what I assumed was a warning circle. Once, when she stopped at that undrawn demarcation, she stared at the pile of weeds behind which I was hiding, penetrating it, I knew, and spotting me. I ran breathlessly away—and stumbled on a rock. When a threatening haze cleared, I looked up. There she stood, the brown gypsy girl, over me. I jumped up, to resume my escape. She grabbed me. I struggled to release myself from her grip.

Mounting toasts! Loud applause! Joyful tears at evoked memories! I stood glaring at my unfaithful sister. Very soon—too soon—it would be time for the couple to leave on a honeymoon, to Mesita, in New Mexico (where Billy the Kid was said to have lingered and Bonnie and Clyde might have made a visit in honor of his memory). The small town was just a few miles outside El Paso, but that economical honeymoon seemed to me then like a trip to Paris. I ran about the rooms of the house, trying to find a hiding place where I might be discovered, with difficulty, when my sister would begin frantically looking for me, leaving me for the last in her abundant farewells amid drenching tears, jubilant and sad salutes, good wishes, and blessings.

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