This Sunday, April 15th, is the 100th anniversary of the best story, ever, for a child. It was a come-to-life Greek myth, but real - and recent. My grandmother was born in 1912.
The story gained traction in my imagination, until I became not as bad as James Cameron, but certainly on the spectrum. As the oldest of seven cousins, I convinced them to put on plays about Titanic, we rewrote the ending and made - the night, the 'berg, the screams - all a dream. All a dream.
That's what fiction means. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: "the good end happily, and the bad unhappily. " Who at eleven could handle such a tragedy, even if the backdrop was a sheet we'd painted to look like portholes, and the setting was at the bottom of my grandparents' stairs?
I adored the words "watertight compartments." Also the words I learned later, "hubris," and, "The Gilded Age." I imagined Bob Ballard, and the submersible Alvin down there in the dark, finding the bow. It gave me shivers. Like elephants finding bones. They stand around the bones, touching them with their trunks like fingers, seeming to remember, thinking about how they might end.