Like many people, I’ve long used fiction as a way to escape reality. I get lost in worlds filled with magic and science fiction or just get caught up in the lives of the characters to the point where I feel like I know them like intimate friends. However, recently I’ve found myself escaping reality not by reading fiction, but by writing it.
I recently began writing a story that allows me to express some of the forbidden desires I’ve long hidden away and I’ve found it surprisingly cathartic. It started a few weeks ago when I woke up from a dream that felt so real and had such honest emotion to it that I had write it down. From there, I continued the story, writing in the first person, and exploring the world and living vicariously through my character. In a way, it makes me feel immature, like the teenage girls who write bad mary sue fanfiction, but at the same time, I now understand the appeal of it.
In this story I’ve created, I can experience a shadow of the life I so desire, but that, in addition to feeling taboo, would also require a complicit party. Between these two problematic elements, it’s very unlikely I’ll ever live out this fantasy life, but by writing this down, I’m able to see what life might have been like if things had been different, if life or God or fate had led me down a different path. I’m able to escape this humdrum life I lead and see through another set of eyes into a world that, in many ways, is just like the one I live in everyday, but in other ways is wholly new and exciting and satisfying.