There is a farmers’ market in Enniscorthy town, 10 miles away, on Saturday mornings. Some of the pubs in the town have the same names and the same atmosphere they had when I was growing up, but almost everything else has changed. Every shop that I remember has gone. Some of the buildings in the center are empty; some have different uses. It would be easy to exaggerate, to say that the town is more real as I remember it than it is now. Clearly, that is not true. What’s real is there now; the rest is memory, history and it hardly matters. This is a poor fact and will remain one whatever I do and whatever I write.
The world that fiction comes from is fragile. It melts into insignificance against the universe of what is clear and visible and known. It persists because it is based on the power of cadence and rhythm in language and these are mysterious and hard to defeat and keep in their place. The difference between fact and fiction is like the difference between land and water.
Full essay at The New York Times