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Norman Mailer, the literary tough guy who was covering the 1992 Rebuplican National convention for The New Republic, was awed by the “Republican princess” and the magnitude of her appeal. “When Mary Fisher spoke like an angel that night,” he wrote, “the floor was in tears, and conceivably the nation as well.”
Called “A Whisper of AIDS,” the speech is included in “Words of a Century: The Top 100 American Speeches, 1900-1999,” you can watch and listen to it on YouTube.
Mary Fisher tested positive for H.I.V. in 1991 at the age of 43 and has spent the last 20 years combining advocacy and art-making.
Back in 1992 the Republican National convention was on my TV as background noise. At one point, I glanced up and saw a woman I could identify with as a young mother, but here she was saying she had AIDS. Mary left quite an impression on me. Little did I know that years later our paths would cross at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. This time I was drawn in by her artwork. We connected on some level and have been friends ever since. It is my honor to interview her today and help her celebrate her 65th birthday - Mary Fisher style.
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It's good to talk.