A few days ago, I ran into this comic. It’s kind of upsetting (particularly if you own cats) but I really liked it. What I found most interesting was a line near the end:
“I paint portraits of fiction, sometimes to cope, sometimes to escape, and sometimes just because it makes me happier to constantly think of a bunch of crazy made-up shit. But, sometimes fiction is not necessary. Sometimes real life has happy endings too.”
Throughout the comic, whenever something bad happens, the narrator imagines a whimsical, preferable alternative. As he says many times over: “This is not what happened, but it is how I like to remember it.”
I think a lot of people start writing to run from something. It might not even be something bad. I know that when I was younger and bored, I’d make up a story. Lots of people do. I was simply one of the ones that took a step further and wrote it down.
Fiction allows us to live in a world of our own creation, one where we make the rules. (Although sometimes I resent being constrained by the very rules I set up. C’est la vie.) It gives us the illusion of control, and sometimes it makes life a little easier to bear. When times get rough, we can escape into a world where we call the shots – even if it can be frustrating for its own reasons.
Now writing isn’t always somewhere to hide. It can also just be a fun world to play around in, a break from mundane reality, a place where we can do whatever we feel like. That’s what’s so great about it, and why I keep coming back – no matter how many times I lie on my floor and scream “I hate this” in despair.
Writing makes us all powerful (or close enough). In a world that is so often beyond our control, it’s nice to get a little power back.