You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it. You get ideas when you ask yourself simple questions. The most important of the questions is just, What if…?
A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
The imagination is the spur of delights…all depends upon it, it is the mainspring of everything; now, is it not by the means of the imagination one knows joy? Is it not of the imagination that the sharpest pleasures arise?
Our real fears are the sounds of footsteps walking in the corridors of our minds, and the anxieties, the phantom floatings, they create.
I write because I can’t do normal work like other people.
Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.
One writes to keep going, to keep oneself from going mad. Maybe it’s an apotropaic gesture, maybe one writes to ward off death.
Since I don’t tell anybody what I’m doing, it occurs to me now that I lived in my own world for nearly a decade.
Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places. Of course, this is a power, like my brand of fictional magic, that is morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate, or control, just as much as to understand or sympathise. And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know. I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do.
Novelists tell that piece of truth hidden at the bottom of every lie. To a psychoanalyst it is not so important whether you tell the truth or a lie because lies are as interesting, eloquent, and revealing as any claimed truth…I prefer to stay with the truths I find in writers who present themselves as the most bold-faced liars. My goal in writing ‘If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler’, a novel entirely based on fantasy, was to find in this way a truth that I would have not been able to find otherwise.