About Writers, Freedom of Writing, world-building

Writers, Escaping

Readers have long escaped into fictional worlds to avoid thinking about events in their real world. Writers do the same.
The difference is that as writers, escapism is our vocation. Instead of dealing with the here and now, we regularly choose to immerse ourselves in alternate worlds, fictional events and imaginary conflicts.
– Rachel O’Regan

But that’s OK.
It’s more than OK: it’s necessary. I mean… have you been following the news lately? We need books that ground us in the unvarnished reality of our present, and books that explore the more horrific moments of our past. We need dystopias to warn us and poetry to challenge us. And we need escapist fiction to give us a freaking break.
– Charlotte Ahlin

And writing is a therapeutic form of escape.
According to Gustave Flaubert: “It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself, to move in an entire universe of your own creating”.
– Zoë Miller

Personally, I acknowledge elements of escapism in my writing. No world of mine comes to mind where a character traps young children in a school room and shoots them with an assault rifle. In my world, police would immediately risk their own lives and save the children.
That’s escapism.

Rachel O’Regan https://www.lifeinfiction.co.uk/writing-as-escapism/

Charlotte Ahlin https://www.bustle.com/p/escapist-fiction-is-exactly-what-you-need-sometimes-you-shouldnt-feel-bad-for-reading-it-8092788

Zoë Miller https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/reading-is-a-therapeutic-form-of-escape-but-what-about-for-writers-1.3644528

The Uvalde Police Chose Dishonor


15 thoughts on “Writers, Escaping

  1. Amen to all that. And then one hopes those charged with the protection of young children would have read your stories of police doing their jobs without cowardice and dishonor, and held those heroes as role models to emulate.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah. And as the Atlantic article points out, heroes can unbelievably spring from necessity. Like 78-year-old Liviu Librescu, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, who barricaded his classroom door with his body to allow his students to escape through windows during the 2007 rampage there. Librescu was shot four times through the door. After finally gaining entry, the attacker fatally shot him in the temple. Liviu Librescu was a Holocaust survivor.


      Liked by 3 people

  2. I had to look it up. “Escapism. The tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.”
    Interesting. I look at it differently. When I read fantastic stories, including my own, it’s not to escape from, but to venture into. The former sounds negative to me–running from something unpleasant or dangerous. The latter is positive–adventuring into something exciting, challenging, enlivening. I am delving into my own imagination, not to escape, but to enjoy.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I have the same motivation as you, Mike. But the result is the same. And to complicate matters further, I sometimes create stories to mimic real world madness and point out solutions that are obvious in the fictional world.

      Liked by 4 people

      • I’m okay with referring to using my imagination to indulge in fantasy as escapism whether it’s writing or reading because it really is a conscious decision to mostly ignore life’s goings-on, which are otherwise difficult to ignore in healthy ways. Well, there’s always meditation, yoga, and sports, but those seem more like ways to moderate your acceptance of reality than to escape it. Addictions, on the other hand, aren’t healthy, but certainly can obscure reality.

        I try to create balance by following the news because I think that’s part of good citizenship — but with a slightly lower level of obsession than from 2015 through 2021 — and then allow myself to do what I’m most happy doing.

        Liked by 5 people

  3. mimispeike says:

    Writing is therapeutic. I smush my abundant insecurities and unfortunate tendencies and plain bad luck around, play with them, rework them, parcel them out between my characters, and finally make something positive of them. This is the best kind of escapism.

    Every behavior you find in my pages belongs to me to one extent or another. Nothing is pulled out of thin air. If I hadn’t been through all that trouble, I wouldn’t be able to write my stories the way I do.

    My world is imaginary, but not as imaginary as you might think.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. MamaSquid says:

    It’s a twin edge sword, on the one hand you have writing as a therapeutic necessity, on the other hand you have me wanting to write more than do virtually anything else, including my day job, the dishes, or even arguably fun things. When I was a kid, I had a particularly rough home life, and I fled often into fiction, writing when I was at home, writing at school during class, writing every moment I could find. As an adult, I had one really bad year, 2014, where I lost my job and a pregnancy within days of each other. I stopped caring about everything but writing, including my marriage. I remember thinking all I needed in life was my Macbook to write on. I imagined myself alone in a tiny apartment and apathetic to my solitude, typing away. A particularly blunt friend of mine said, “I suspect you are using your novel as form of escapism from your present situation,” and it’s hard to argue otherwise. I needed it, but did I need it 16 hours a day, at the expense of my relationships? No, it was really detrimental at that point. It enabled me to reject the real help that I needed.

    And what world am I escaping into? Poverty, violence, misogyny, sex work, widespread corruption, racism, sexual assault, domestic violence, torture? I mean that’s what I write about. I write about love blooming out of these bleak conditions. I feel like my love bloomed out of a bleak condition. Is it escapism to write about that? Kind of yes. Kind of no. My characters always give each other unconditional acceptance, which not everyone gets to have in real life. I guess writing can have many functions, sometimes healing, sometimes escape, sometimes entertainment, sometimes all of those things at once.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Well put, MAMASQUID. Writing can have many functions. I want to say the writer controls all. But creativity suggests that I don’t want to control my characters and their world so much as I want to believe in them.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Uvalde law enforcement officers rescued their own children before the shooter, Salvador Ramos, was stopped.

    This video comes from the San Antonio-based local news station KENS 5. In the clip, KENS 5’s Vanessa Croix interviewed Lt. Christopher Olivarez, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

    Vanessa Croix: We’ve heard that some law enforcement officers actually went into [the] school to get their kids out. Can you talk about that?

    Lt. Christopher Olivarez: Right, so what we do know Vanessa right now that there was some police officers [and] families trying to get their children out of the school because it was an active shooter situation right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. mimispeike says:

    Government moron-bastards!

    I have to tell you. My husband has been googling me to see what is known about me on the web. He just discovered I’m on a government watchlist! For what?

    For my history of googling stuff? I googled spider sex recently. I’ve googled Aiesha, the child bride of the prophet Mohammed, for Sly. I’ve googled all kinds of nutso stuff.

    I can’t imagine what else can have landed me on a government watch list.

    My sister in Florida may be seriously ill. Am I going to have trouble boarding a plane to go see her?

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s