viernes, 22 de junio de 2012

Whatever you can imagine is real

BUTTERFLY—my recently completed novel—sets the story of Mia Pearson’s search for her true identity within that of personnages and events making  history in the first half of the 20th century.  

When I am asked if Mia’s story is true… ‘Did it really happen like that?’  I usually quote Picasso:  Whatever you can imagine is real.   

Nonetheless, I am not at all sure imagination plays much of a role for a writer of what we consider fiction. Memory, I am convinced, has a greater impact on the stories one tells. And for me, memory entails more than what any of us might remember about our personal experiences.  For me, there is a collective memory at large in the universe—emotions, sounds, shapes, colours—that is part of each one of us. It is what allows us to write, with integrity and acuity, about circumstances we have often never experienced ourselves.    

Consider a unicorn. From time immemorial, the unicorn has been deemed legendary and we might well regard stories about the magical single horn as metaphoric.  However, the Hubble space telescope picture of the Trifid Nebula, 9,000 light years away, suggests we don’t have to imagine anything… it is already there simply waiting to be acknowledged.