“Invention, by its nature, can’t be a lie”

"Invention, by its nature, can’t be a lie"
"Truth lies in our dreams, in our imagination."

How do you work?

I work in the morning. I sit comfortably in an armchair, opposite my secretary. Luckily, although she’s intelligent, she knows nothing about literature and can’t judge whether what I write is good or worthless. I speak slowly, as I’m talking to you, and she takes it down. I let characters and symbols emerge from me, as if I were dreaming. I always use what remains of my dreams of the night before. Dreams are reality at its most profound, and what you invent is truth because invention, by its nature, can’t be a lie. Writers who try to prove something are unattractive to me, because there is nothing to prove and everything to imagine. So I let words and images emerge from within. If you do that, you might prove something in the process. As for dictating the text to my secretary, for twenty-five years I wrote by hand. But now it is impossible for me; my hands shake and I am too nervous. Indeed, I am so nervous that I kill my characters immediately. By dictating, I give them the chance to live and grow.

The playwright Eugene Ionesco, interviewed in 1984 by Shusha Guppy for The Paris Review when he was 74 years old.

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