Escape = Sometimes What Really Matters (Stephanie Burgis)

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.


  1. I agree--escape can be a powerful tool...

  2. So true, Stephanie. Great books and movies often allow us to escape the pain in our lives and the best ones can help us deal with it. And no, indeed, you are not alone in your need for escape now. Thanks for sharing!


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