My automatic coping method for most stressful situations in my life has always been distraction. Get my head out of whatever has upset me and focus entirely on something else. This usually means I’m not rooted in reality anymore: I’ve escaped into a story. Growing up, I read fiction or – heaven forbid – gave in to the TV Blare (I’ve been a book-loving snob about a lot of movies, but quality story-telling can be hunted down on the screen).
Now that I’m a fantasy writer, there’s no hope of changing. I’ve heard some people do manic cleaning when they’re stressed. Wouldn’t that be awesome for aftermath? You have a rough day and you have a clean house to show for it? I call that someone who knows how to cope with reality.
Fantasy’s worst reputation is probably the Big Let Down once you come back to earth. You become dissatisfied with the possible, while the impossible torments you with its appeal. Although there’s some truth in that, I honestly don’t know what I’d do for excitement without other worlds in my head. Probably try to go on real-life adventures and accumulate a far more impressive record of injuries (the worst injury I’ve ever had is a sprained pinkie finger; I’m not even kidding).
In any case, I recognized the paradox circa age fifteen, and here is the poem:
Intriguing, enhancing, appealing
Imagination, creativity—lies, delusion
Disappointing, confusing, distracting