Thoughts About Escapism

At this time two years ago, I was already writing what would eventually become An Absolute Mind. It was easy to slip in that mindset of its setting in an optimistic future, given the conditions of my country back then. While I can’t say that everything was peaceful, as far as privileges and rights go, they were as intact and secure as ever, and even got better when the Supreme Court finally made the historic decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

If I were to write An Absolute Mind today, I honestly am not sure how I would be able to effectively slip into that mindset and make that future as positive as it is, given everything that’s been happening in the week since Trump took office. There’s so much to go off of. Women’s rights are in danger. The press is being censored. “Alternative facts” have apparently become a thing. The proposed wall to border Mexico is actually being pursued… somehow. As of recently, immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-dominant countries are banned from entering the country. It’s horrendous and difficult to read about. It’s history repeating itself, and then some.

It’s enough to make a person go absolutely mad, and yet somehow, dystopian novels, in particular George Orwell’s 1984, are seeing a rise in sales. While I have not personally read it, I don’t really have any aspiration to read it anytime soon, for to read a novel whose events in its universe are similar to what’s happening nowadays would just be too much for me. It seems appropriate that the novel I’m currently developing is a fantasy story, for escapism is key in these uncertain times.

You probably know the stories that I’m talking about where escapism can be fully utilized. They’re often the stories not set in our universe, but rather in lands (or even galaxies) far, far away. These worlds contain noble heroes and heroines, the impossible suddenly becomes possible, and the world is much more appealing to play and live in. Who hasn’t read or seen “Harry Potter” and not instantly have the want to take off for Hogwarts? Who hasn’t seen “Star Wars” and not want a lightsaber of their own? Who hasn’t seen any of Hayao Miyazaki’s films and afterwards not want to ride on a catbus or meet a Totoro? Who hasn’t watched the entirety of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and not proclaim what element they would be able to bend?

If you’re familiar with any of these examples that I’ve named, then you know what I’m talking about. As appealing as these worlds are, much like the real one, cannot exist without conflict. As a result, these stories wouldn’t be as appealing as they are. If there was no Voldemort, then Harry wouldn’t have been “the boy who lived.” If there was Sith, the name “Star Wars” kind of defeats the purpose of it all. Chihiro faces the constant threat of being turned into a pig when she’s taken in as an employee of Yubaba’s bathhouse. If the Fire Nation wasn’t terrorizing the world, Aang wouldn’t have become the Avatar.

Conflict is what makes a story a story, regardless of what form it takes. It’s just that in these worlds that we use to escape from reality, there’s a much stronger hope for a resolution or a win to be obtained. Maybe it’s in the heroes and their appeal to do what is right. Perhaps it’s due to the circumstances of what can happen in these universes cannot exist in the real world. Again, it could be the specific world itself that is so appealing, that to see it fall would be just tragic. People who seek escapism more often than not know that going into the designated story, and that’s how they know that they’re in for something good.

These are rough times we are in, and we need to do everything we can to fight the good fight and resist the injustices coming our way from Trump and his posse. At the same time, escapism into such universes as the ones named in the previous paragraphs are needed now more than ever. Besides, we can even learn from these stories and apply them to our real world. After all, as Jyn Erso had said in “Rogue One,”: “Rebellions are built on hope.”

An Absolute Mind is now available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & NobleCreateSpace, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. If you read it, please leave a review, for they’re greatly appreciated and help me grow as a writer. Also, be sure to check out its Goodreads page, and feel free to leave any questions you have about the book.

 

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