I am basically not as imaginative as people might think when reading my fiction. I do not “invent” fiction – I only fictionalize reality.
I think the biggest barrier I had to overcome when I started writing prose fiction rather than pure poetry, was that I had the ideal of thinking up fiction, which was something I never succeeded at. It wasn’t till I realized that the best pieces of fiction ever written are based on real events (however fictionally coated afterwards) that I actually managed to write anything worthwhile. My short stories have come into being based on this principle: Real events, coated with fiction to a smaller or larger extent depending on their individual nature.
I have come to believe that the true measure of an artist is not imagination but interpretation. Of course, being totally un-imaginative you’d never be able to conceive of anything worthwhile, and you’d not be able to grasp the aspects of your daily existence which might feed into your artwork either – but with that in mind, imagination alone can only take you so far where fiction-writing is concerned. True genius consists of observing, understanding, interpreting and successfully communicating events that take place around you – however trivial they may seem. True genius consists of paying attention to real-life details, and transplanting them most effectively into your fictional rendition. True genius consists of paying attention to the world around you in order to understand and interpret it – and pass your observations on to other people. Imagination alone won’t do. Imagination is merely the tool you use in order to fictionalize the real-life events that inspire you to write in the first place. Imagination may be a component of interpretation. Interpretation in itself is key.