Paris Review – “So the stream of novels and stories continues . . .” J. G. Ballard

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BALLARD

I take for granted that for the imaginative writer, the exercise of the imagination is part of the basic process of coping with reality, just as actors need to act all the time to make up for some deficiency in their sense of themselves. Years ago, sitting at the café outside the American Express building in Athens, I watched the British actor Michael Redgrave (father of Vanessa) cross the street in the lunchtime crowd, buy Time at a magazine kiosk, indulge in brief banter with the owner, sit down, order a drink, then get up and walk away—every moment of which, every gesture, was clearly acted, that is, stressed and exaggerated in a self-conscious way, although he obviously thought that no one was aware who he was, and he didn’t think that anyone was watching him. I take it that the same process works for the writer, except that the writer is assigning himself his own roles. I have a sense of certain gathering obsessions and roles, certain corners of the field where the next stage of the hunt will be carried on. I know that if I don’t write, say on holiday, I begin to feel unsettled and uneasy, as I gather people do who are not allowed to dream.

via Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 85, J. G. Ballard.

2 comments

  1. I’m feeling very unsettled and uneasy not being able to create anything until I get my new MacBook. Working on a loaned Windows PC without my usual software is a nightmare, darling! As for Redgrave, we saw Guinness being the utter opposite as he left the theatre after we’d all been watching Lynn’s play about Michael (very affecting).

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