Gentle and Fierce is a new book of illustrated memoir essays by Vanessa Berry. 

Frank the Bear/ Frank

Frank himself stands in his position in the foyer of the Biological Sciences building, beside the central stairs, across from the entrance. He's there now, at this very moment, inside his glass case, a fixture of the building and of the university. A Frank also lives in my memory, and has done ever since my grandfather and I made regular visits I to him when I was a child.

When I write about going in search of Frank again as an adult I write about how things - beings or people or objects - can exist in multiple versions, the real and the remembered. Nothing I remember ever feels truly lost to me, even if it's something that's gone in a physical sense. I can think my way back into any time I have lived through, be it good or bad or anything else an experience can be. Any time I want to I can meet the Frank that I hold in my memory, no matter where I find myself.

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