There are times when I want to take facts and change them. I want to take the life around me, and in me, and turn it into a story. I want to rewind, and cut and splice. Leave some parts out altogether; reverse the chronology; take the raw material of experience and mold it into something new. The rough draft of reality edited and rewritten until it becomes fiction. Sometimes I find that it has evolved into a creature unrecognizable, a new species that keeps its genesis hidden.
Other times, the truth is enough. On its own, the story has happened; but still, it needs to be told. And it is in the telling that memoir emerges. A metamorphosis wherein fuzzy, sloppy, haphazard life is cocooned and nurtured, until language has shaped it, given it meaning.
Making it up, conjuring something from nothing — perhaps some writers do magic such as this. I have tried. But then I realize, my make-believes have shadows, echoes, and memories.
What I love about creating fiction is giving voice to the parallel universes. Being able to take what is or what was and let it be what it should have been, or could have been, or would have been if a butterfly had fluttered its wings at just the right moment. Softly, minutely, the air is stirred, the breeze shifts, the winds blow, and everything has changed.
And what I love about writing memoir is capturing the wild ineffable, taming it, and then setting it free.
Either way, once written, the words, lingering on the page, whispering to the heart, living in the mind, whether fact or fiction, are no longer mine.