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Escapism as a Means of Survival

Please welcome guest blogger Rae Renzi! Rae is giving away a copy of her book, RiverTime, to random commenter! Drawing will be held tomorrow, and the winner contacted. So don’t forget to leave a comment!

 

We live in interesting times, so interesting that the idea of a simple life is the stuff of fantasy. I suspect everyone has fervently wished at some time or another to be transported away—from thorny personal problems, unresolved conflicts and complicated lives—by an event beyond their control (therefore exempting them from blame).

How much better if the place to which one is transported also hold the promise of romance? And perhaps just a sprinkle of danger to spice things up.

I submit that it’s healthy to wish for such an escape. In fact, I believe escapism is a necessary skill for survival in our world, because our brains are just not designed to handle the type of stress we experience. It’s true that we evolved in a primitive environment full of stress, but at the time brain evolution was taking place, the stress was pretty basic—the need to find food, shelter, protection from physical harm, and, of course, sex (some things don’t change).

Evolution happens slowly, so our famous “fight or flight” response is perfectly adaptive for this primitive type of stress, but for the stressors we face today? Not so much. Case in point: imagine responding to a conflict with your boss by either turning tail and running down the hall or by throwing a punch. Neither is likely to get you a promotion.

But, clever creatures that we are, we have developed other skills to cope with stress, escapism being prominent among them. Our brains need a break from reality and the myriad complications of life. In a way, our current social structure recognizes this (although somewhat obliviously) in the institution of vacation. It’s not our hands or feet that need vacating, it’s our minds.

So, escapism is necessary, and this is why, in the midst of trials and travails, we find ourselves wishing we were somewhere else.

RiverTime by Rae RenziIn my debut novel, RiverTime, Casey Lord lives that wish. While she’s on a river-rafting trip, a flash flood sweeps her away and deposits her on a rocky beach in the wilderness.

But not alone. Jack Raines, a stranger to her, is also thrown from his river raft by the flood, and washes up on the same shore.

It should be a desperate struggle to survive until they’re rescued, but their sojourn in RiverTime—their term for the isolated time and space they now inhabit—takes on an altogether different feel, one that’s a little more heated, a little less than desperate.

But, as in real life, their break from worldly complications is temporary. When their rescuers arrive, neither Casey nor Jack is prepared for what awaits them—deceit, betrayal, and danger…

Obviously, what Casey should have done was pick up a romance novel and read it, rather than to hop on a raft and go sailing down the river. It’s a cheaper means of escape, and more accessible. A lesson to be learned 😉

 

Thanks for guesting with us today, Rae! Okay, readers, your turn! What kind of forced escape do you dream about? Where would it be, with whom, and what would you have to have with you?—Natalie

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20 Responses

  1. Forced escape…The Witness Protection Program! LOL

    I’ve know nurses who went on vacations (example-a Windjammer cruise), came back to work, gave 2 weeks notice, and moved back to where they had just been on vacation. Linda, the nurse from the Windjammer cruise, was gone for a couple of years working on that ship, where she met and married her husband.

    All my “running away” fantasies involve a pile of money I don’t have…and isn’t that always the problem? 🙂

    Love the concept behind your book, which I haven’t read. Best of luck with sales.

    Thanks for coming by ENLR and spending time with us. I hope you return often.

  2. Actually, writing a romantic escape story with the situation you suggest–someone with no money, trying to live life big anyway, and getting tangled up in a romance–would be fun! Thanks for the good wishes. My reviews for RiverTime have far exceeded my expectations, so fingers crossed!

  3. I started reading RiverTime the other day. I got cold, the description of the flood was so real! 🙂

    When my kids were small, I almost wished for a minor illness that required a hospital stay. I never felt I needed a big life re-evaluation or change. I just needed a break for a while. Now, that’s the last thing I want! But a vacation I don’t have to work during would be nice. LOL

    • Natalie, that’s so funny, because not too long ago, I complained to a friend about not having enough time to write, saying, “Is it wrong to want to go to the hospital for a few days?” (I think the corollary is “Pain, no blame.”)

    • Nat – there was a report on TV the other day about mothers who dreamed of time away from their kids. Not that they didn’t love the kids…they did. They just needed a break from all the responsibility, so I think your wish for a minor illness is common.

      I’ll tell you a “secret.” When I worked at a children’s hospital, we used to see an influx of babies and toddlers with “nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea,” on Friday afternoons. We had to admit for dehydration and iv therapy. The parents would pick up the kids on Sunday. I always wondered about this sudden rash of hospitalizations on Friday…for the weekend. Babysitters? Yeah..that’s what I thought too.

  4. I love the premise for your book, Rae. I agree that we all need some form of escape from the pressures and responsibilities of daily life. I know it’s one of the reasons I love to get lost in a story.

    My idea of an escape would require some source of income I currently don’t have. I’d like to move around the world, following the good weather and my whim. Switzerland in summer, Germany in the fall, California in winter, the Caribbean in spring? All I’d need is my husband, my MacBook with Internet connection, language immersion classes, and a versatile wardrobe.

    • LOL! I’m with you, Gwen. I’d have to add Greece and Italy in there for the food (along with Spain, Turkey, Morocco, and of course, France).

      • Oh yeah, Rae. My real dream is to see as many countries as possible, preferably by living in them for at least a while. I’d love to choose a home base in Europe and then travel out from there. But I know I’d have to do some serious escaping in winter! South of France anyone? 😉

  5. Welcome to the blog Rae. I have River Time in my TBR pile I am slowly working my way through. The book sounds really good and I love Carina Press books.

    I would love to travel and just get away or spend the summer on the beach somewhere (minus teenagers and 20 somethings) isolated and just be able to relax, swim and read. But again that takes money I don’t have.

    My escape at home involves the bathtub, candles and a glass of something to drink along with a good book. My books are truly my get away. My 2 1/2 granddaughter helps with that too.

    • Thank you! And I have to agree–there is something therapeutic about total immersion (water and words!). I make use of the same combination, frequently!

  6. Welcome, Rae! Escape? One word: MONTANA.

    • Oooh. I’ve been there a few times, Crystal (only in summer!)–beautiful and remote and BIG! (I know, I know–Texas is bigger, but there are a lot of people here, so it doesn’t seem so big). (At least to me).

  7. Hello, Rae! Welcome! 🙂 Escape = Anywhere quiet! LOL School starts Monday so I’ll get my wish during the day. Too bad we don’t live close enough for me to hit the beach while they are there. Well, I mean if it wasn’t so blasted hot here in Houston! I love the peaceful sound of the waves.

    • Well, hi Melissa–we must be neighbors! I’m sitting here roasting in Houston, too (the Heights)(OMG, I just looked at the official temp–108!).
      For me it’s just the opposite–I live right down the street from an elementary school, so quiet only happens in summer and at night. I’ve been to the beach a few times, and it always has the desired effect–it’s soothing, even for just a couple hours. Visualizing peace and quiet for you!

  8. My imaginary escape would be to a stone cottage (modernized, of course) in the Yorkshire Dales, although for the winter I think a beach house in Hawaii or the Bahamas would do nicely. But the austere beauty of the Dales — which I hope to see again in September — is something I treasure.

    Sigh. I told my husband that, and he votes for a house on the South Coast of England. I guess he figures we should go for something year round!

    • Sounds lovely, Beppie. I’ve been to York, and my impression was that the history of the place seeped into the atmosphere. Wonderful! I’ve never been to the south coast…maybe next trip over. **wish**

  9. I have monastic cell/anchoress fantasies (of course, I’d need easy-flowing pens, moleskines and good heating).

  10. I would be in Scotland in an isolated Castle on top of a hill surrounded by miles of sea.

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