Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Escapism vs. Reality

By Rose Dee

Escapism vs Reality

Images of inhumanity, violence, and hatred have been showing up on social media sites for months. These horrors of war play out as I scroll through my newsfeed. Some images I wish I could un-see so I can pretend they didn’t happen, but in my heart I know an awareness of these horrific events fosters a new understanding of what is worth fighting for, and what, as a citizen of a righteous country, I can do to help the innocent worldwide.

Then I sit down to my work in progress, a story about a young woman struggling to find her way through the complexities of western culture, and for once my story doesn’t feel enough. I wonder if I should be creating fictional characters with ‘real’ problems, like the ones currently facing Christians in these war-torn regions. Problems like where to get their next meal, how to protect their children, and where to run as they flee for their lives. My character, with her semi-troubled childhood and lost way, doesn’t compare with these heroic individuals who are facing terrible deaths because they refuse to deny their Lord and Savior, Jesus.

I have pondered the guts of my fiction writing ministry for some time, and have come to a few conclusions:

  1. Comparing the fictional world of storytelling with the real life version of life and death is pointless. I have been given a heart and direction from the Lord to write entertaining stories with a message, not real-life stories, no matter how heroic. I need to be obedient to my God-given calling.
  2. Nothing I do for God is in vain, even if at times my task seems insignificant compared to the problems the world is facing. At the end of the day, if He has a plan for my work, then I need to continue to the work to His completion.
  3. No matter what atrocities face the world, escapism has always been a blessing. And the world needs more Christian escapism, stories with messages of faith holding all kinds of introductions to Jesus.

I decided to continue on my fiction path, while praying for a world in turmoil, brothers and sisters in need (no matter where they are), and the intervention of people willing to stand up. But also to continue to write my stories the way the Lord would have me write. If I do this, I know God’s mandate will be fulfilled in my life, as it will be for the world.

What are your thoughts on the role Christian authors play when looking at the current horrific events unfolding worldwide?

Rose, who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, was born in North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her first novel, Back to Resolution.

Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and desire to produce exciting and contemporary stories of faith for women. Beyond Resolution and A New Resolution are the second and third books in the Resolution series.

Back to Resolution won the Bookseller’s Choice award at the 2012 CALEB Awards, while A New Resolution won the 2013 CALEB Prize for Fiction. She has also released The Greenfield Legacy, a collaborative novel, written in conjunction with three other outstanding Australian authors.

Rose resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband, young son, and mischievous pup, Noodle.

14 comments:

  1. Hi Rose
    Thanks for your post. I have to admit to having similar thoughts in recent months. I think we need to aware of what's happening and to help as we can yet I believe God can still use the stories he has given me to touch lives and inspire faith and hope. In the end, it is when hearts and minds change that the world changes.

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    1. Agreed, Jeanette. At times it doesn't seem enough, but God does change hearts and minds when we get to His work. :-)

      xx Rose.

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  2. I know one book I read that dealt with the heroine losing her job becoming homeless and having to move into a shelter. It was good cos but for the Grace of God that could have been me just over 5 years ago. I like stories that tackle issues to a degree but if you are writing inspirational fiction most readers want a book they can escape into. Straight fiction without a romance can handle the more challenging issues or ones with suspense or intrigue. I think it really depends on what genre you are writing as each has a different audience.

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    1. That is excellent advice for me, Jenny. I love escapism, it's what I always go for, and even though the world is full of realistic pain right now, there are a lot of other readers around like me. So I must keep writing what I love, what I know, and what God would have me do. :-) xx

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  3. Hi Rose,
    That's a great question and I'm glad you asked us. Maybe that's the best thing when we think of ourselves as a body, rather than just a whole lot of individual authors. There are several other writers who are called to tackle these huge, heartbreaking issues in their work, for which I'm thankful. But those like us, who are writing stories of the western world in our own environments, are also following God's unique calling for us. And all end up being part of the same body, because the world needs escapist, uplifting novels as well as hard-hitting, convicting ones.

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    1. Don't they ever, Paula. Escapism, with a little romance and a happy ending is what I prefer, and there are a LOT out there like me.

      Great food for thought in your reply. I truly believe that our work is no less important as the hard hitting stories.

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  4. Tanks Rose. Something each of us needs to work through for ourselves, I suspect. The main thing is that we are obedient to what god reveals to us.

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  5. Your post was a balm to my soul, Rose. I've had the exact same thoughts and come to the exact same conclusion. If I can write a book that gives hope, then I will. Like you, I believe this is what God has called me to do. You've articulated my soul-searching just beautifully. Thank you.

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  6. It's a blessing to hear I am not the only one pondering these things, Andrea. I'm so pleased that this post has helped you too. We face difficult days - but I am certain that storytelling always give hope. Xo

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  7. Rose, excellent post! I agree with your conclusions. There are times I feel like reading a more challenging story that makes me think, and other times I'm looking to escape into a story with a happy, feel good ending. As Paula has mentioned, there's a place for all different types of stories.

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    1. Thank you, Narelle. Sometimes I am a little shy about posting pieces on more serious topics. I like to keep things light and happy, but this has resonated with readers and so I think it was a really good thing. :-)

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  8. Excellent post! Well said, Rose and I have battled this, too. What I came to realise is that everyone has their battles and relating to the pain of others can be done in this milder storytelling form - it sparks the humanity in us, reminds us that we all feel, we all hurt, we all grow and bring different abilities to the equation no matter the degree of difficulty faced. This connects us all, and is invaluable.

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    1. So true, Catherine. Not all my 'light bulb' moments in life have come from serious situations. God uses all kinds of stories to connect with us.

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