When I am asked, and I very often am, if the stories that I write are true--based on something that really happened, I usually quote Picasso. Whatever you can imagine is real.
Nonetheless, I am not at all sure imagination plays much of a role for a writer of what we consider fiction. Memory, I am convinced, has a greater impact on the stories one tells. And for me, memory entails more than what any of us might remember about our personal experiences. For me, there is a collective memory at large in the universe—emotions, sounds, shapes, colours—that is part of each one of us. It is what allows us to write, with integrity and acuity, about circumstances we have often never experienced ourselves.