Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Of Fiction & Reality

Everyone who reads does so for a reason.

Whether it's to learn, to understand, to research... or even to escape.

And I admit now that I've spent most of my adult life reading to fulfill the first three categories. And yet, though, on rare occasions I find something that truly allows me to escape.

One such book was released this past weekend. And though, yes, it's a "children's" tale, there's something to be said for the pleasure I derive from reading it. I truly look forward to it, and can scarcely pull it away from my eyes, even to work.

And so, yes, I admit: I've been reading it on lunch breaks. I've been reading it at the gym. I've been reading it before I drift off to sleep.

But before you judge me, remember this:

I become so engrossed in the text — so busy transforming words into images and allowing myself to be that proverbial fly-on-the-wall — that I can hardly turn the pages fast enough. And so when lunch is over and I walk away from the book, I sometimes have a difficult time adjusting to the stark contrast between the two.

I am leaving, for lack of a better comparison, a high drama world of witches and wizards, slowly reacquainting myself with a reality I'd prefer, quite honestly, to not acknowledge:

Loved ones suffering without the insurance to cover them. Families torn apart by custody papers. Wars with daily death tolls spread across the news. Brothers who aspire to join them.

And always, still, those broken sirens that wail over and around skyscrapers like an injured T-Rex.

For brief moments in the day — those moments when I steal away into another world — I think less of these things. I escape, quite literally, and I'm not the least bit ashamed for it (though my explanations surely have you thinking otherwise).

Now here's the thing:

Sometimes we cannot escape. Sometimes life presents us with experiences that no words, fictional or otherwise, can soothe. The spell is broken and — despite our best efforts — we read the same words (the same sentences) over and over, unable to comprehend even the simplest passage. It is during these times that our stomachs burn with a sort of anxiety (like now) that knows no language.

You try to read. To escape.

Only to realize that you cannot — for the life of you — turn the page.


disgruntled world citizen said...

i read because if i didn't, i'd go mad. stark raving, out of my mind mad.

XOXO said...

I wish my time could be spent reading that book. Instead it's filled with apartment, job and school hunting. Soon I'll lock myself away sans computer to finish so that we can discuss. In the mean time mud sis would love to discuss it with you.

=) said...

The pirate wants me to get in touch with you to talk about the afore mentioned "children's tale" Mostly because I finished it and I have been tormenting her via text, phone, and email.

M@ said...

Man, I hate the whole witches and warlords thing.

Did you get the new Harry Potter? Is THAT what this is all about?

I like to escape w/ booze and pot sometimes....

Anonymous said...

There are much worse ways of escaping then reading a book and getting completely engrossed. At least reading causes your neurons to fire.

Unfortunately there are those times when your reality is so, well, real that it impinges on your fantasy world. Then you lose a way of coping when you need it the most.

There are other books. The next big one for me comes out September 1st.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

DWC - That's usually the case for me, too.

XOXO - Take your time. Reading the book is like Christmas morning: it's full of surprises, but the faster you read it, the sooner it's over.

=) - I'll give you a call or send an e-mail when I finish it. As it is, I have about 350 pages to go.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

M@ - Yeah, the book I'm alluding to is Harry Potter. But I intentionally avoid calling it by its title for a reason: that's not what this entry is really about.

BPP - That's it. That's it precisely.

Mystic Wing said...

Are you positive that the page can't be turned? I"m starting to notice that it takes only a very, very small shift in perspective to make the same world look very different.

Stacy Sheer said...

I always escape. That's what books are for. You mean to say that you read to learn things? Will wonders never cease?

Woodrow said...

I hope things take a turn for the better in your real life real soon.

Pamela said...

you really nailed it.
I know exactly what you mean.
I hate it when I can't get into a book.

I hate it when I'm in a book and I have to put it down. Sometimes it's so good I don't want to chew it.. just swallow it whole.

Then I have to go back at a later date and read it with more digestion happening.

michele said...

Book are indeed a great escape. They're how I got through those awkward teenage years (and yes, I realize by using books as an escape, I actually made the teen years worse by being a geek - but they got me through, which is what counts).