User Error: On Memory and Nonfiction
September 21, 2008 § 3 Comments
From Brian Oliu, author of “Virus 1″ in Brevity 28:
This essay came as a result of an “end-user error” on my part; I had originally written an essay reflecting on my birth and what I had ascertained to be the truth around the medical complexity of the situation. Upon hearing a reading of the piece, my mother explained that this is not how it happened at all; there was no C-section. I felt terrible about getting the story wrong all of these years, and especially relaying something that is considered to be non-fiction whereas it turned out I had gotten perhaps the most important fact incorrect. As a result of this, I began to question all of these “made-up” memories about my childhood that had been passed down to me.
Naturally, I don’t remember being born or getting injured as a small child, but through stories and recounted information it is as if I created that memory, and therefore it was as valid as the experience itself. I equated this idea to the computer virus; how these viruses fill in gaps left by human error in order to create new things and make programs do specific actions or simply overload the file with too much information. These installed concepts “infect” us, causing our ideas to become more erratic, finally spitting out an amalgamation of truth, ideal, and excess coding.