Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Escape or Escapism.

We all have our addictions. With any luck these are what are known as "soft" addictions: that is – they harm nobody. A friend of mine has a particularly soft addiction – to cashmere. Hey – I can sympathise. But I hope she's exaggerating, because the point of an addiction surely is that you are no longer in control – your addiction is controlling you.
I trust she is in control of her cashmere purchasing.

My addiction was to romantic fiction. A Mills and Boon book was my way of opting out of a life I couldn't cope with. I remember once reading seven in one day. As an addiction it was less harmful to my liver and waistline than alcohol or chocolate, but while subject to it, I was no longer in control. The house remained dirty, the laundry unwashed, and my accountancy studies (oh yes, that was what I was supposed to be doing) totally unstudied.

My point is not actually about addiction but about escapism. Those books provided a place for me to be where I could avoid responsibility for life and the things that needed doing.

Most of the time, thank goodness, things are more under control. I still love a good bodice-ripper, and the bedside table is still piled high with books (and that's before we count the e-reader), but reading time is severely limited; most of the time I'm doing what I need to be doing, not escaping somewhere else.

We all need a place of escape sometimes, but that place only provides succour without danger of entrapment when it's scheduled and limited; when it's half an hour before bed, or forty minutes while tea is cooking. We need to enter that place with a timer because the air in there can be a slow poison.

Mary
A Moodscope user.