That which is imagined need never be lost

Imagination - a dim and murky place where the tattered remnants of questionable, pitiable, largely unspeakable dreams linger in anticipation of a second outing? Maybe. Well that, or a glittering palace bedecked with jewels - some admittedly with unexpected depths of foreboding, but most displaying facets of sparkling afflatus. One's ours...

"I want to see a thing clearly - whether it be insanity, madness or violence... But if I worship anything it is the imaginative faculty. And I passionately want to express imaginative ideas about the nocturnal mind and the holy in a decidedly popularist form."

It's Alive

By John Hind, Blitz, No 80, August 1989

"Best-sellerdom is dominated by repetition; to be a brand-name author, you do what you did before with a minimum of change, but in my books, I like to prove I can fly off in different directions. My imagination leads me to do what makes sense to it. My imagination is my polestar; I steer by that."

Professional Imaginer Clive Barker's Eclectic Talents Defy Pigeonholing

By John Marshall, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 8 December 1992

"What I'm saying is fiction is a way of telling a very complicated truth. Fantastical fiction is a way of telling a more complete truth - we live one third of our lives in dreams. That's a long time to spend in dreamland. Some of these dreams will be erotic, some will be of flying, some will be dreams of adventures, some will be dreams where you go through the mundane processes of the day. In a sense, if you spend all that time in dreamland, in a place where the reality of the 16 waking hours of the day is suspended, then it becomes much much more important to understand what you're doing with that third of your life. Now it's fantastical fiction which mingles the imagery of dreams, in which reality softens like a Dali watch and runs away; it becomes, at its best, a means to understand the hidden processes, the dream processes, and that's one of the reasons why it's scary for people, because people like you and I are at ease with our subconsciouses, we live with our secret selves."

Clive Barker in the Flesh

By Dave Hughes, Skeleton Crew, III/IV, 1988

"That celebration of variegation and paradox goes back to fantasy, goes back to those imagined worlds. Goes back to that place where our sexuality becomes somehow fluid... the baby an image of polymorphous perverse... goes back to an image of our bodies as things whose moment to moment rebellion we understand and celebrate rather than live in fear of. This excites me all the time. I want to find new ways of saying it. This fiction is all about desiring other experience. It's all about wanting more than what our bodies apparently limit us to. At this point fantasy and horror fiction completely overlap. And one day, in my travels through my own personal archipelago, I may go to a Celtic island of lowering clouds and werewolves, and the next to a magical place of orchards and poetry, but they will both be islands on the same trip, and they'll have their own language and style and life, and they'll all be places that I want. I'm rejecting none of them. I'm not rejecting the vampire. I'm not rejecting the werewolf.
"I wonder how much all this comes down to the sense we have as children, the sense that we lose, of infinite possibilities. As we grow up, these seem to become limited and limited and limited, and when we enter the world of fantasy - and I'm talking now about horror fiction and invented world fiction and science fiction too - are we maybe attempting a return, at least imaginatively, to a time when we could look at our pet dog and almost imagine ourselves inside the dog's head?...Is it not possible that maybe those infinite possibilities - that feeling, when you're a child, that if you try just a little harder you will learn the secret language of animals - that feeling (and it certainly doesn't last very long) that the possibility of being either male or female still remains open to you: that this is what fantastic fiction is speaking to; taking you back to that state of mind."

Every Fear is a Desire

In London, September 1988 by Lisa Tuttle, Clive Barker's Shadows in Eden

"Personal relationships have their place but everything is put aside for work. To me, the idea of a wife and children is a millstone, getting between me and the things I want to do. My most intimate relationship is with my imagination. It always has been. My imagination is the one thing that I really like about myself. It is the longest one night stand I've ever had. And it has never let me down. Yet."

L'enfant Horrible

By Robin Eggar, Sunday Express Colour supplement, 1 February 1987

"You can plan to be brave - it's even better if youjust try to be brave. Imaginatively brave is the most important one of the lot... to be imaginatively brave, to be able to dream to the limit... now that seems worth one's care and worth one's best effort... I simply want to go as far as my mind will take me, because I believe I am safer, in the most sublime sense of the word, if I can embrace every possibility that one's mind throws up. However perverse. However dark. However grim."

Catching up with Clive Barker (as "Horror in print: Clive Barker")

By Stanley Wiater, Fangoria, No 55, June 1986

"The place between the dream and reality, particularly if you've been working on a book for so long, becomes so thin. You start to dream the characters. You have conversations with them, you fuck with them, it's intimate. I also had this fabulous dream about Tina Turner. I don't drive, so I don't know what this means. I was in a very low-slung car and she was in the passenger seat and I was driving and I can't drive and she was stark naked! We were driving at an immense speed down the freeway in the wrong direction and these humungous trucks were coming toward us - we were low enough to go between the wheels of these trucks - and then, as we were beneath the trucks, she would arch her body up so as to make contact with the undercarriage of the trucks and these sparks were flying! It was very sexy, very strange."

Clive Barker : The Horror !

By Morgan Gerard, Graffiti, Vol 4, No1, January 1988

"I have the normal complement of anxieties, neuroses, psychoses and whatever else - but I'm absolutely nothing special. All I have is a fevered imagination, which actively likes to make elaborate metaphors to discuss and explore those anxieties and neuroses and psychoses."

Who's Afraid of Clive Barker?: The Titan of Terror and His Studies in Dread Reckoning

By David Streitfield, The Washington Post, 1987

"I believe the only tool we have to interpret the world is imagination. Reason is a paltry little thing. The poetic sensibility, the inner eye, knows things reason will never learn. Many times my protagonists face situations in which they come to the realisation that the only way they can win, or even survive, is by using their inner eye, by seeing the world not with reason but with a poetic sensibility. That may mean that many of the structures they hold dear become either valueless or at least are called into question. But if that's what the piper demands, pay him."

Clive Barker: Renaissance Hellraiser

Barker at 1986 World Fantasy Convention, by Leanne C. Harper, The Bloomsbury Review, September/October 1987

"There are those who are born with rich, resonant imaginations who understand that the world is not only stranger than we know but stranger than we can know, and that it's important to celebrate that strangeness. Then there are the other people who don't have that facility. They look at our books and see only what appears to be a morbid attraction to horror and death."

Terror Tactics

By John Brosnan, Time Out, 16-28 March 1988

"The first volume of 'Books of Blood' was published just over four years ago, and since then my life has changed out of all proportion... The one solid place in the turmoil is the imagination. The one thing I can hold on to is getting up in the morning to do the job of imagining. It is the most exciting experience I know. That makes it easy to turn down big Hollywood movies for tremendous amounts of money, which is something my agent can't understand. That kind of thing doesn't interest me because it's not terribly imaginative. The process of imagining keeps my life simple on a day-to-day basis. All I've ever wanted to do is darken the day and brighten the night."

If You Knew Clive Like We Know Clive

By Philip Nutman, Fangoria, No 78, October 1988

"I'm very attracted to situations in which the imagination is allowed full range; the liberation of the imagination. And some of that will be defined horror fiction, some of it will be defined as fantasy fiction, some of it may be defined as science fiction. I'm not sure it matters. Certainly it doesn't matter to me personally... I suspect that it matters less to the audience than we think it does... I think the reason people were reading the material in the first place was not simply because it was visceral but because there were imaginative elements which have carried over into the fantasy fiction and will carry over into any other area that I write; whether it be erotic fiction, or science fiction or whatever else, it will be the imaginative thrust; the imaginative enthusiasm is a constant. I want simply to be known as a writer of the imagination and it becomes an adventure to find new ways to express that imagination and worlds, not so much to conquer as chronicle."

Babel's Child

By Mark Salisbury, Fear, No 2, Sept/Oct 1988

"My earliest remembrances are of things imagined rather than things of the real world - I like to work. I don't like bars; I don't like clubs, I like to be at home working. I love my housemates, I love my dog - I'm pretty dull - and I do think that the writing of a large imaginative work takes a kind of obsession, an immersion in its reality to the point where the life lived o utside its pages seems duller.
"I don't believe there are any true solutions to the world's various ills without spiritual solutions, which for me means imaginative solutions, means reaching what I think is the divine part of us - our imagination.
"One of the things the imagination does is allow you access to other people's lives. In imagining another person's thoughts and feelings you better understand them. It's the only way to fight the phobias that are in everybody, the only way to fight the animal impulse to view the world tribally, making everybody unlike us the enemy."

Lord Of Illusion

By Charles Isherwood, The Advocate, 21 February 1995 (note : online at the Lost Souls site)

"I don't believe that even with the elaborate magical paraphanalia that I could open a door into another dimension and step through it disappearing from this world completely. I do however believe that those are very potent metaphors for things which do go on in our consciousness constantly. Our imaginations and our minds are sensitive to all kinds of other realities which lie outside our own. We don't have to, literally as it were, unlock a door and step through it and disappear from this one in order to be in another dimension. All we have to do is open our imagination. All we have to do is open our spirits. There are things waiting for us, there are realities waiting for us, and it's really a question of breathing deeply and saying, okay I'm now going to take that journey."


By [Stephen Dressler and Cheryl Bentzen],Lost Souls, Issue 2, [September] 1995 (online at the Lost Souls site)

"I guess I would have to say I had a mixed childhood. I suspect that's true of most of us. Certainly nothing terribly tragic occurred with one notable exception: my very best friend died tragically when I was eleven. Otherwise, I had a loving family and a very solid English education. But somehow from the very beginning my imagination was drawn to things dark and mysterious. I guess it must be genetic.
"I want to be remembered as an imaginer, someone who used his imagination as a way to journey beyond the limits of self, beyond the limits of flesh and blood, beyond the limits of even perhaps life itself, in order to discover some sense of order in what appears to be a disordered universe. I'm using my imagination to find meaning, both for myself and, I hope, for my readers. It's easy to be cynical and pessimistic, to believe in something - to believe in the importance of our own imaginative lives - is sometimes hard, especially when, in our culture, we are surrounded by trashy, empty images which distract us from the search for significance in our lives. Our imaginations are our most powerful personal tool for revelation. In the face of the truth contained in our dreams and fantasy the regressive, stifling, divisive cruelties which are sold to us daily in the guise of fundamentalism and political expediency, wither. We have to dream."

People Online Appearance

Transcript of on-line appearance, 30 July 1998 (online at

"As a kid I had a picture of a ship on the wall and it set my imagination going not just about the ship but where it was from, where it was going. I think children are blessed by time to have lots of possible destinations; it's kind of wonderful from that point of view."

A Spiritual Retreat

By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 26 March 2007 (note - full text here)

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