For me, this genre is the chance to write about very serious ideas in a manner that hopefully will shed some light on the effects such ideas have on the function of the imagination. For instance, when certain ideas negatively affect the very continuation of an individual life, the imagination often becomes the last resort with which to cope with this unsought-after terror. Will the mind fall into madness, as the imagination generates more and more horrendous scenarios fuelled by the injustices of fate, or will it seek to soar to heights of fantasy and reverie to mentally ward off the inevitable tragedy? Or will it do both, uncontrollably oscillating between the two, each vying to be the author of the individual’s last thoughts?
On the other side of the coin, some life-affecting ideas drive the imagination to plumb its creative depths in such a manner that result in its exponential growth. This plunge and subsequent expansion can be both exhilarating and cautious, depending on whether the participant believes the imagination has limits, or is infinite in its creative and explanatory abilities. Some philosophers have argued it has definable limits, while others say it is inexhaustible. In fiction, it is possible to hold both views simultaneously without lapsing into contradiction or incoherence. To my mind, this is one of the strongest appeals of this genre: to inhabit one’s own imagination as a kind of visitor, not predisposed or beholding to judgments of proof, but rather simply as an opportunity to explore how serious ideas affect and illuminate how one thinks. In a way, writing in this genre makes it possible to find out what one is thinking.
I have not lived long enough to know all the ways of escaping poverty, all the ways to leave that empty house, that desert of means, that so many are forced to live in after their birth. However, I do know that in such a house poetry is a window through which one may see a brighter landscape, one that beckons with its beauty and promise. A pen is all that is needed to explore it, and perhaps a stolen book, a match or two, and a candle to light one’s way.
Four prisoners are imprisoned in a concentration camp where they try to escape into their imaginations in response to the horrors they are unable to avoid. One prisoner narrates the imagined realities of the other three, as they all, one by one, finally succumb to the brutality of their captors.