Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Fragment • Prosopopoeia (December 1998)
I was born in the Philippines, in a whitewashed stone hospital overlooking Manila Bay. My grandmother might have told you that my seaside birth accounts for the color of my eyes; the science of genetics suggests, on the other hand, that their color is determined by a recessive gene. Which explanation is true? My grandmother had an answer for this question: Never spoil a good story for the truth. I grew up on Cape Cod, in New York, Boston, London, Hamburg. In Hampstead, at age four and a half, I wrote and illustrated my first story, "Tom the Fish." My hero, a soldier in the guard of the King Fish, wears a busby and contrives somehow to carry a saber. I have drawn his eye—Tom is always rendered in profile—with a single dot of blue felt-tip.