Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Straight-up Escapism

 My husband, my two kids and I are driving home from a long day which included, among the usual craziness, following a tow-truck with my husband’s car on the back to the mechanic...again. It was just one of those long, never-ending days.
 Actual transcript of what my husband tells me happened in the car:
“Dad, what happens if a tow truck breaks down? Who tows a tow truck?”
“They have bigger tow trucks to tow broken tow trucks.”
“What happens when the biggest tow truck ever breaks down?”
“I don’t know Jake.”
“Mom?” My son paused, because I’m not answering. “Mom!” he yells. Nothing.
“Kristin, Jake’s yelling at you. You ok?”
“What? Sorry, I wasn’t listening to you guys. I was thinking about Disneyland.”
Escapism. I’m guilty of it in spades. In the tough, mundane moments, my mind wanders to things that are pleasurable, like the characters I am developing, a new story plot, or sometimes, apparently, Disneyland.
I belong to more than a few writing groups filled with moms about my age. Of course, we claim to write for fun, for relaxation, because it makes us feel fulfilled…not many of us mention straight-up escapism very often. And I’m not talking, “Oh, writing is such a fun escape for me.” I’m talking, “I can’t handle it anymore. I’m going to go pretend I’m someone else for a little while.”
Maybe it is a dirty little secret of the writer/mom. When the diapers and the screaming and the bills and the mess and the dishes and the piles of laundry get too big to handle, maybe some of us literary types write stories about everything but being a 30-something mom with a whole bunch of kids and a whole bunch of unmade beds.
This quote from Graham Greene hits home: “Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”
Reality TV and ice cream work for a lot of people I guess. Me? Sometimes I write to escape.   Hey, it’s cheaper than a day at the spa.

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