As a child, when the world became too fraught with the typical trials of childhood along with atypical family upheavels, I'd often head for the back yard and the swing or hammock or run upstairs to my room and open up a book, escaping into the world of fiction: another family, another land, another life.
It still works today.
Today, with all the tragedy and unrest in the world, the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, the current fighting in Libya, the constant political excoriation of our president, first because he didn't commit our forces to the fray, then because he waited too long and now because he didn't officially declare war and get approval from the Congress, there simply becomes too much negativity. So what do I do? Of course, I head for my room and begin to read, usually something I've read before, anything that will take me away to another world, different characters who live fascinating lives in exotic lands.
Is this a childish reflex? Maybe. But I couldn't continue living my life with any semblance of sanity without it. It is my protection against all the
embroilments of the modern political world and prickly family involvements. I recommend it to others. It's better than TV, a movie or both. Fiction becomes a part of you -- it can wrap you up in a rich labyrinthe of words and carry you off into a world of fantasy.
I love my life, but my life becomes enriched when I can get my hands on a good piece of fiction.
I realized today, that the reason I want to get back to my own novel and read it again and again are the characters. I spent so many years with these people, they are like another family, friends that are cut from fabric that I selected and shaped by my own will and preference. Now that the book is finished, they are no longer daily companions and I miss them.
Sounds crazy, doesn't it?
And what's the solution for someone like me? Continue to read, of course. Or -- you've got it! Write another book.