That Thing I Wrote That Wasn’t True: On Facts, Memoir & John D’Agata

But something happens as time passes—as I drift further from a memory, as a fact is dislodged from the place it had once made sense. I begin to play with a fact: I pluck it out, examine it, and let it stand on its own. It is vulnerable: the context that hugged it is stripped away.

An Outline of My Parallel Universes

1. My mother and father, both born in the Philippines, move to the United States and meet one another, or

2. My mother (or father) moves to the United States, but my father (or mother) does not, or

3. Both my mother and father don’t leave the Philippines, but still meet each other, or

4. My mother and father never meet one another.

Atocha Station

A Triptych on Hieronymus Bosch, Love, and Madrid

As a whole, The Garden of Earthly Delights is cohesive: the chaos, ultimately, makes sense. The first time I looked at it, in my art history class in high school, I was perplexed—even uneasy. Since then, this painting has become a metaphor for how I put things together, as a memoirist and thinker.