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I'm Not Here

April 2022
234 p.


“Deeply moving and hilarious attempts to make sense of life, faith, friendship, romance, and a dysfunctional family.”
Roberto Loiederman, co-author, The Eagle Mutiny


“From our first questions about religion to the awkward dawn of our budding sexuality, no one can escape the unwelcome realization that our families just may be the reason we’re all crazy.”
Stephen Kellogg, musician and author of Objects in the Mirror

“Jerry Vis’ experiences will make you laugh and touch your heart. A delightfully entertaining read of adventures, both real and imagined.”
Anne Carlucci, Film Producer, Who Killed JonBenét?


I’m Not Here

Strange Relatives, a Stranger Boarding School, and the Saving Grace of Art and Love

Jerry Vis

A follow up to his first book, Paterson Boy, this story collection continues the memoir of Jerry Vis, a city kid from Paterson, New Jersey, as he is packed off to a strict, religious boarding school in the rural South of the 1950s.

Jerry is a fish out of water in a place as alien to him as the moon. The strange boarding school is definitely not to his liking nor his character. To complicate matters, his father, who had come in and out of focus in his life, dramatically emerges center stage, bringing a confusing mix of God, religion, and alcohol.

I’m Not Here gives rise to the question: Can art save you? The answer in this uplifting story collection is that maybe it can. That and a little love.


Jerry Vis spent the earliest years of his life in Paterson, New Jersey, where he was born in 1939 into a blue-collar family struggling to overcome the lingering effects of the Great Depression. He has an M.F.A. in fine art and taught for many years in public school and college. He is also the author of Paterson Boy: My Family and Other Strangers: A Memoir in Twenty-Eight Stories.

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