We left behind the other kids; their path-working, drinking, and being grown up- and rejected all that made them grumpy, uncreative and lifeless. We dumpstered, squatted, and shoplifted our lives back. Everything fell into place when we decided our lives were meant to be lived. Life serves the risk taker...
The average American watches more than four hours of TV each day. In a 65-year life, that person will have spent nine years glued to the tube. Why? Simple. Life sucks. Life needs an escape. Life is no good. Show me someone who spends hours online playing Mafia Wars or Farmville, and I'll show you someone who probably isn't very successful. When life sucks, escapes are sought. I don't need television because I invested my time into a real life worth living, not a fictitious escape that airs every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Again, majority thinking yields mediocrity, and for that majority, time is an asset that is undervalued and mindlessly squandered.
I think that pretty much every form of fiction (I’d include fantasy, obviously) can actually be a real escape from places where you feel bad, and from bad places. It can be a safe place you go, like going on holiday, and it can be somewhere that, while you’ve escaped, actually teaches you things you need to know when you go back, that gives you knowledge and armour and tools to change the bad place you were in. So no, they’re not escapist. They’re escape.
I long ago abandoned myself to a blind lust for the written word. Literature is my sandbox. In it I play, build my forts and castles, spend glorious time. It is the world outside that box that gives me trouble. I have adapted tamely, though not conventionally, to this visible world so I can retreat without much inconvenience into my inner world of books.
For I need not remind such an audience as this that the neat sorting out of books into age-groups, so dear to publishers, has only a very sketchy relation with the habits of any real readers. Those of us who are blamed when old for reading childish books were blamed when children for reading books too old for us. No reader worth his salt trots along in obedience to a time-table.