Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Signs of the Times by Morgan Mandel

This morning I went to Mass for Lent, where the grammar school children were leading the invocations, some of which were:

Let us pray for peace in the world.
Let us pray for the unemployed.
Let us pray for our parents who are sacrificing to send us to a parochial school.

All of those invocations were about actual issues facing many Americans. We are still at war in Iraq and have no guarantee that even if we pull out, we won't be struck by terrorists when we least expect it.

Last night on TV I saw a video of people braving it out in line in the rain. The announcer said 1000 applicants came to apply for 100 jobs.

As I looked at the children in their uniforms this morning, I wondered how many of them might have to leave and go to another school because their parents can't afford to keep paying tuition.

Books can be a wonderful escape from reality. When I write, I try to pull my reader away from the real world and into the make believe realm. When I read, I read to escape.

I wonder how many other authors still write about a make believe world, or are more of them adding a dose of reality to reflect our times.

What about you? When you read, do you prefer escapism or reality? If you're an author, which do you write? Please share.

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Helen Ginger said...

I do look to escape, even if it's into a heart-pounding world of suspense. As long as the world is different from mine, be it funny or tense, I like it. For the most part, reality is either boring or scary. Perhaps the idea of getting away from it all is why fantasy seems to be very popular right now.


thewriterslife said...

You know what's so interesting about unemployment? More and more Americans are going the entrepreneur route than ever before. Here's a great scenario for a book: The world never works for anyone else again but owns their own business online. Hahah...I'm being silly but I'm seeing a lot of this happening.

unwriter said...

My preference in reading is to learn. I read white papers on astrophysics and other scientific works. But my writing is a bit different. I write about kitties. I put life into inanimate objects. I write humor.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I write more in reality, but my reading is a little of both.

However, when it comes to movies, that is where I want to totally escape!

L. Diane Wolfe

Anonymous said...

I write about reality. You've got to be tricky and coyly weave reality in. Sometimes, people complain my stuff is too meaty for them! But wouldn't you rather have fleshed-to-the-bone characters with problems that keep you routing for them until THE END? That's where reality comes in...

Anonymous said...

I am all for characters that have issues that seem real to me or that I am able to relate too, but with the media constantly repeating the same stuff over and over again, well I turn to books as an escape. I find reality a bit overwhelming at times, so you can see where I am going with this... even if I am writing a contemporary novel, truth is I write romance so I live in a fantasy world with tall handsome heroes and the women who love them or wish they didn't. ;)

Cynthia Hernandez / cruizen4u said...

I am all for escapism. Take me to another world other than my own. Be it fantasy or reality, just as long as it isn't my own life I am reading about! LOL
Thank you for letting me visit.

Anonymous said...

Hello Morgan,
My novels are for escape but my amateur sleuth works 3 jobs which is a reflection of the working lives of locals in the North Carolina mountains.

Maggie Bishop

Gladys Hobson said...

It was interesting to hear the list of prayers. There are many things that concern many people to do with life and death, struggle and survival, joy and pain.
Of course, we can't take in everything all at once and sometimes what would seem a petty thing takes the limelight, maybe because we can do something about it? Or is it that we cannot cope with the overwhelming pain and distress in the world?
We have lived long enough to have experienced many issues but the overwhelming thing that depresses me more than any other is that the poorest of the poor in the world get poorer year by year. We in the West have benefited from cheap goods and cheap food at the expense of those who labour all their waking hours, sometimes just for a scrap of food. Many are without so much as an aspirin to give relief from pain, millions have no clean water and what they have has to be carried long distances. Millions of children have no education and work as soon as they are able. Slavery may have been abolished but we make slaves of the those who have no choice but to accept what they are given or they and their children starve. The world's poor may be glad of a handout but what they need if fair trade.
Would we ignore a child dying of starvation in our own backyard?
Sorry to go on, but just thinking about what WE do to others through our own greed and selfishness, brings me to tears. It is certain, what we sow, so shall we reap.
What do I read? (Or rather, what does my hubby read to me?) Mysteries, psychological, and detective stories mostly. I myself have read books such as Miracle of the River Kwai by Ernest Gordon and Cry the Beloved Country (Paton?) but I have a wide taste. I write fiction, mostly Romance — some Romance that is completely different (such as my latest Ebook - When Angels Lie (Mythica Publishing.)

Margot Justes said...

I escape from reality when I read and when I write-the world is too much with us...if I want a dose of reality I listen to the news. You get it all, death, horror, shock, greed, mutilations, etc.
My heroine is an artist, and I can't think of a better escape. Art and great coffee-perfect.
Margot Justes