Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Made-Up Stuff

Made-up Stuff

I’d watch my grandparents telling stories, almost coming to blows over who had the truth, how it really happened. Was it Mrs. Higgins or Mrs. McRae who had the brown dog that bit the neighbour’s kid? Was it the dog that was foaming at the mouth or was it the kid? What was his name? It was Kip, I think. No, it wasn’t. His name was Kevin and it didn’t happen the year George was born; it happened when he was five because we were scared that dog would bite him, and you know we didn’t have medical insurance and you know we couldn’t afford to drag him to the doctor for shots.

And so the story goes full of the sediment of memory laid down over time but acted upon by erosion. Erosion, the great creator, the great destroyer of the world, and of the mind. Erosion, the maker and the breaker, the changer of reality as we break down, as our stories change, as we re-invent them. Just as our own cells become new again, replaced by other cells as we age, memories change too; they are here one day and over time they are transformed so that there isn’t any non-fiction anymore and never was. Even autobiography is made-up stuff.

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