Escapism – What’s Wrong with That?
Some people see escapism as a bad thing. If you check the definition at dictionary.com, you find, “the avoidance of reality by absorption of the mind in entertainment or in an imaginative situation, activity, etc.” Interestingly, the word originated in the 1930-35 period. Which was the time of…? The Great Depression, right. When a lot of people were as depressed as the economy and had good reasons to want to escape.
But does escaping through the imagination necessarily mean avoiding reality? Isn’t it just a little mental vacation, and not irresponsible at all? That’s what I think. So does acclaimed science fiction writer Neil Gaiman, who says,
“…escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with (and books are real places, make no mistake about that)”
Gaiman adds that,
“…more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back…”
Romances certainly fit the bill. Readers find charming (fascinating, exciting, choose your own adjective) people to hang out with, a happy ending they can count on, and the possibility of learning some important things. Like compassion. Like the surprising ways that different kinds of people see the world. Maybe even hints about how to deal with their own relationships. At the least, a satisfying book offers a respite, some relaxation; it can improve your mood, and thus make reality a nicer place for you and the people around you.
So, I say, here’s to escapism. We can all use a little bit, from time to time.
If you’re up for some light-hearted escape, I offer for your consideration a new edition of The Headstrong Ward, out today. There’s a parrot.
Find it at:
Barnes and Noble http://goo.gl/YXK3LA
Books a Million http://goo.gl/W8MO2y
One commenter who describes their favorite brand of escapism will win a copy!