Today I decided to take to my bed. Not in the Victorian-lady sort of way, complete with fainting spells, swooning, and smelling salts, but in the need-a-change-of-scenery sort of way. It was chilly in my office, and I was doing financial things (my nemesis), so I needed to snuggle up with a heating pad, a warm blanket, my laptop and a nice big surface on which to spread out a lot of papers. The bedroom was the natural spot to which I migrated.
Also, there were a lot of distractions in my office, and I needed to escape them in order to get anything done.
This got me thinking about how most of us have places we escape to once in a while. In my novel One’s Aspect to the Sun, my main character escapes to the largest cargo pod when she needs to think, and sits or paces on the catwalk that vaults through the top of the empty space. In her case, it’s the close quarters and small rooms of the spaceship she needs to escape–she’s craving the simple sensation of having more open space around her. Which is, admittedly, a little ironic, considering she’s actually out in deep space.
Even in stories where themes don’t touch on escape, many characters have places they go when they need to get away, be by themselves, and think or regroup. It can be a powerful insight into a character to see where they find this refuge. Do they seek out a church or a library for quietude? A milling shopping center where they can blend into a crowd? A forest where they can feel more grounded in nature? What does their choice of escape say about them?
In a short story I wrote recently, the main character’s escape space is a rooftop garden. In that story, it is symbolic, since the garden was started by her father, now deceased, and does become both an actual physical refuge as well as a place of danger, throughout the course of the story.
Where’s your escape? Where’s your character’s escape? What does that say about you, and about them? Can you use it to enhance your storytelling? Or your life?
Tell me your answers in the comments, if you’d like to share.
Photo credit: revwarheart