Friday, December 7, 2012

"When I am dreaming, it's being written inside"

I am savoring some recollections of the role of dreaming in a writer's life in the last long interview that Julio Cortazar, an Argentine master of magical realism and the short story form, gave before his death. He describes how an early story that earned him fame was inspired by a nightmare. "One of my first and most popular stories, “House Taken Over” [Casa Tomada], is a nightmare I had. I got up immediately and wrote it."
    More usually, before he began to write, Cortazar would have felt a story "turning around in me a long time, sometimes for weeks...During this gestation period my dreams are full of references and allusions to what is going to be in the story. Sometimes the whole story is in a dream... But in general, what comes out of the dreams are fragments of references. That is, my subconscious is in the process of working through a story—when I am dreaming, it’s being written inside there." 

Quotations are from an interview by Jason Weiss in The Paris Review (Fall 1984, No. 93)

Picture: Julio Cortazar, Casa Tomada


M said...

You should look up his work called "la Noche Boca Arriba" or "the night face up". It has to do with a dream. I read that in Spanish over a decade ago for Spanish class, and I have not forgotten it!

William said...

Compare the picture of the man at his desk with the picture on the cover of the book to the right (the woman holding one hand to her head).