Off Topic · Writing

On Escapism

Have you ever had a book hangover?

Picture this: you’re reading along, frantically flipping page after page, immersed in a story of someone else’s life and problems. You can’t wait to see what happens on the next page or in the next chapter. You read faster and faster, needing to know how it ends. How does the evil king get defeated? How do Harry and Sue get together in the end? Whodunit?

Suddenly, you reach it, the last page. You finally know how it all goes down. How the good guys win (or don’t). How the couple gets together (or doesn’t). You snap the book closed with a sense of satisfaction. And then…


There’s nothing left. The story is over and you come crashing back to reality. The reality where the kids need dinner and the bills need to get paid, and you should probably do the dishes before roaches move in. Reality can be a big, giant let down after being so wrapped up in the fates of others. Whether or not you can afford to pay rent pales in comparison to the Evil Fae Queen who wants to rule the land of the humans and turn them all into slaves.

To be honest, I think that’s one of the reasons why I love paranormal/fantasy stories so much. Life can be… mundane. It can be ordinary and plodding and day in and day out of the exact same existence. Every day you get up at the same time (barring the snooze button), you go to work and stay there for your allotted 8-9 hours, and then you come home. You eat dinner, maybe spend some time with your kids or your spouse or your dog. Eventually you go to bed, only to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

But fantasy worlds are different. There are mythical creatures, and humans or humanoid creatures with power. There are dragons, and werewolves and vampires. Every fight might mean the main character’s death. Why think about your own boring life or nagging problems when Harry is about to face off with Voldemort or Frodo is trying desperately to get the ring to Mount Doom?

Stories of all kinds, be they books, movies, or TV shows, have the power to draw me in. If done well, they make me feel like I’m right there with the characters, rooting them on or yelling at them them to stay away. The wonderful thing about being a writer is that I can have that feeling as often as I’d like. I get to fall into a world of my own creation, giving my characters impossible problems and then helping them solve them.

Writing may just be one more form of escapism, but its mine. And maybe, just maybe, I can help other people when they need a little escapism themselves…