Presumably all obsessions are extreme metaphors waiting to be born

That whole private mythology, in which I believe totally, is a collaboration between one’s conscious mind and those obsessions that, one by one, present themselves as stepping-stones.

It’s true that I have very little idea what I shall be writing next, but at the same time I have a powerful premonition of everything that lies ahead of me, even ten years ahead. I don’t mean anything too portentous by this. I suppose people—certainly imaginative writers—who consciously exploit their own obsessions do so in part because those obsessions lie like stepping-stones in front of them, and their feet are drawn towards them. At any given time, I’m aware that my mind and imagination are setting towards a particular compass point, that the whole edifice is preparing itself to lean in one way, like a great ramshackle barn.

I do exploit myself in a calculated way, but there again one has to remember the old joke about the laboratory rat who said, “I have this scientist trained—every time I press this lever he gives me a pellet of food.”

-Ballard

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