“Why don't you write literature with a thought-provoking message rather than pure entertainment.”
So I thought I’d take a minute to explain a side of escapism that many people may not have considered, and to point out that it has a lot more value than most people realise. I never consciously write messages into books. They may be there but it’s wholly incidental if they are. I don’t try to write that great literary masterpiece. I unabashedly write escapism. And like a fair proportion of readers, I enjoy reading escapism.
My wife reads literature with messages, I don’t. I see enough of the serious side of life, so when I relax, I want to escape that side of life. There may be those who seek serious subjects to add to themselves - the Ophrah Winfreys of the world. But I don’t have that capacity.
When I was young, I was sickly with all the victimisation by bullying, and loneliness, that is brought by that. I was a chronic asthmatic at a time before medications such as Ventolin. I outgrew that sickness in adulthood, but as a child, books became my friends, I could escape a not so great life through stories. As it happens, I’m not the only person who has found refuge in books. Many others on the fringes of society are able to get by because they can escape.
Have you ever wondered how something like Comicon can be so popular? In the same way that I escape, others have found ways to add to their existence. They’ve taken escape to a new level making a culture of it. The cult of the superhero, a guy who stands up for the bullied, it’s something straight out of the imaginations of those who were bullied. There’s so many people in the world like that.
So we’re the ones on the other side of the coin, we’re the ones that live, or who have lived, in those serious situations that are sometimes written about in serious literature. Sometimes one of us will write about it as a form of catharsis, but one of the strongest of human self-protection mechanisms is the ability to remove yourself from a bad situation. Even if you can’t physically escape, you can mentally escape, and books help millions of people do that. So I write for that.
Books helped me through my life, I enjoyed escaping with them, and now I give back to others by helping them escape too. I don’t need to write a great literary masterpiece, I write so that my readers and I can take flights of imagination.