A Writer's Journey

August 18, 2014

Escapism: Let’s Get Away

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: ,

It seems every genre has a stereotype. Fantasy readers are usually nerds who like dressing up and pretending to go on quests, for example.

And romances are usually read by bored housewives who are unsatisfied with their marriages, according to the stereotypes. Yet romances are really popular. Always have been.

No, really. The History Channel has this show called “America’s Secret Slang.” It’s about the origins of the words and idioms we use everyday. On a recent episode, they discussed the origins of the word “romance.” It stems from the Middle Ages. Latin was used for the more serious literature, for academic work. All other works were written in the language of the people—French, Italian, English, Spanish. You know—the romantic languages. Many of these stories included love and relationships and so they took on the name “Romances” after the languages they were written.

So romances have always popular. Hence why you will find them everywhere. And maybe that’s why people mock them. We like to tear down what’s popular, right?

But why do romances remain popular? Many reasons. And one is for the escape they provide.

Yes, escapism. To some, it’s a dirty word. That books that deal with the issues we face in real life are better than ones that may not be so realistic. And they are important, don’t get me wrong. But that doesn’t meant escapism is wrong either. It’s like watching a movie or a TV show that doesn’t require much thinking. You know—fluff pieces.

Most people who read romances know that they are part fantasy—wish fulfillment to be exact. The women (and men) who read these books know these characters don’t really exist in real life. That doesn’t matter. Not for the time we’re reading. We disappear into the world of the beautiful-but-doesn’t-know it heroine and the sensitive-but-mysterious-man-who-knows-she’s-beautiful hero. Of the grand gestures and crossed signals.

And, yes, of the steamy sex scenes. Are they realistic? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But there are times it doesn’t matter. We just want to get lost for our lunch hour, or to unwind after a long day, or right before bed. It recharges us. Or calms us down.

So don’t be ashamed of your escape. There’s nothing wrong with it.

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