Like a lot of people, I spent a lot of yesterday crying as I read news reports. Like a lot of people this weekend, I spent a lot of the last couple of days furious and horrified and anguished by the news.
I had to force myself to stop reading news reports yesterday afternoon. I wasn't learning anything new, I was just spiraling into a pit of horror.
I'd planned for ages to go see The Hobbit (part 1) in the movie theater. It was on at 3:30. I went hoping...for escape.
A lot of us talk about how our chosen genres are NOT escapist, oh, no, no. That argument comes up because there's a large-scale social understanding that escapism is somehow bad, less worthy than other types of fiction.
Yesterday, I needed escape.
I watched The Hobbit, and everything critics had complained about, in terms of pacing and structure, was true...but guess what? I enjoyed every minute of it.
Even when I could clearly see that things could have been made tighter in terms of pacing, that took away none of my pleasure in the film. And for three hours, I was taken into another place, a place of adventure and noble ideals and humor, a place with exciting peril but no real threat (because I knew the hero would be fine and nothing too terrible would actually happen).
I needed that. I'm guessing, this weekend, that I may not have been alone in needing that.
Sometimes an "escapist" book or movie feels like medicine for the soul. Three hours off in a day full of horrifying reality can make a genuine difference. And I'm so grateful for the writers and artists and filmmakers who make that possible.