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  • dmjohnston3

EMPATHY - Writelog 09

People love to talk about - and condemn - fiction as "escapist," suggesting that consuming it is emblematic of some sort of weakness. What none of them consider (because, in general, they are an artless lot) is that the creation of art can, itself, be an escape. Some art addresses pain, but some of it pushes pain aside - and sometimes, it can do both.

It's interesting writing a character who is, essentially, a version of yourself. He has a different life, a new life, one that you can bend and shape as you see fit. Most writers, when doing this, tend to use their self-heroes to live out fantasies, usually power fantasies in which they get to defeat all comers and save the day. This tends to be that "escapist" fiction that the very serious people love to sneer at.

I suppose I'm no different. No one would ever call this story "escapist," but it very much is. My fantasies aren't always so pleasant. The protagonist here has had a very difficult life but in many ways I see it as an enviable one, in part because of that difficulty. This all started with an image in my head, a picture of an intolerable situation - but one that I willingly absorbed because I longed to live it out.

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