Fiction Heals

Sometimes the best thing we can do to heal our psyche is to get away from it all. Life sucks sometimes and we need that escape, not only to get out of our lives, but to step back and gain that perspective we so often need. We can’t all take vacations away from life whenever it gets troublesome, just pack up, jump on a plane and GTFO. Very few of us can, in fact. Life, work, kids, school, other obligations don’t go away, not for most of us.

That’s where fiction comes in to save the day.

Whether we experience that fiction by watching a good movie, reading a book, relaxing into a consuming daydream, spacing out to music, or even writing it all out, it invariably seems to help. I know that, if things get really, really bad, all I have to do is read the Harry Potter novels again. The world goes away. I’m at Hogwarts, next to Harry, Hermione, Ron, Luna, Sirius, Molly, McGonagall, Dumbledore, and all the others. I’m fighting, feeling, caring, and living in that world. Those troubles become my own.

There’s a passage in Misery where Paul Sheldon thinks that, by becoming a writer of stories himself, he has condemned himself to a life of picking them apart automatically, seeing what works and what doesn’t, reading it with the eye of a writer rather than someone almost lovesick with the world he is meant to dive into. I don’t pretend to be a writer like that, but I can tell you that this does exist. I took a creative writing course in college and we learned to pick stories apart, to become editors. It helps my own writing. It’s a wonderful tool, but it is double-edged.

Harry Potter, however, turns me into an avid reader. There are times of admiration for J.K. Rowling’s impressive writing and worldbuilding gifts, but I think that’s inevitable. She is a master, and through her and Harry, I am transported. I don’t realize it, but I am healing inside when I read her work (even though she often tries to rip apart your soul because you care so much for her characters).

There are other examples, and any writer or reader of fiction has just his or her own examples of this transportation and healing power of fiction. Being a writer (Quasi-writer? Wannabe writer? Some idiot struggling with himself to just do it? Whatever…), I have the advantage of writing it out. I’ve been so absorbed in the wolves I’m prepping and writing and researching that I can’t find a way to get out my own issues in as direct a way as I’d like through that story.

Another story had been in my mind for years, and it’s not time to write it (it’s wolf time), but I find that my world issues are taking over and that I find ways to escape that rather than working on my beloved wolves. Until today. Today I realized that this other idea was 100% the scenario to get out all of my issues within the framework of this story that has just been racketing around in my head forever. The scenes haven’t left me alone in a few weeks, and so today when I realized that I could encapsulate them all in one or two small scenes, I decided to write them out.

I feel no urge to abandon my wolves or to pursue this other story just yet. But by writing it out (which I’m still in the process of doing, pausing only to write this), I feel better. Not only that, but I feel like a block to my wolves and writing has been lifted. Instead of avoiding it all, pushing forward without dealing with my other issues, I’m healing through this fiction. And that’s worth everything.


~ by Darren Endymion on March 10, 2016.

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