On Imagining

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“‘Writing
a novel is gathering smoke,’ says Walter Mosley.‘It’s an excursion into the ether of ideas.’
Most people dismiss most of their imaginative life with amused indifference,
and maybe even a little contempt. That is where you must part with most
company.Your fantasies are a resource,
and the place where ideas are conceived.
You must catch them, hold them, and exploit them.They will flicker around the edges of your
thoughts like moths, and your likely impulse will be to brush them aside. Use
that flick of your hand to catch your fluttering thought instead. ‘There’s no
time to waste,’ Mosley says. ‘You must work with that idea as well as you can,
jotting down notes and dialogue. You have to get it down.’ Some ideas will
unfold slowly; and some will dash out ahead of you. Be ready, your notebook at
your side.”

The
Modern Library Writer’s Workshop
, by Stephen Koch