The exit sign

Tired of the every day routine, every dream of a life of romantic adventure, want to get away from it all? We offer you escape! Escape, designed to free you from the four walls of today for a halfhour of adventure. Escape with us now to the year …

That was the introduction to a classic American radio show from the 1950’s, basically Outer Limits for radio. This particular episode was for The Time Machine, and it’s available in the Spotify playlist “Vintage Radio Science Fiction”. The introduction struck me as a little sad the first time I heard it, but when I think about it we all need some escapism from a life that sometimes can be boring, burdensome, scary, and even flat.

What would we be without our imagination? One of the earliest memories I have from watching TV is the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It was made the year I was born (1968), but I think I must have watched it 10 years later. The most striking  to me was a scene where grandpa excitedly went into a shed in the garden, with the intention of going to India. He was barking mad and didn’t go anywhere, but the idea that you could travel to anywhere you wanted without leaving your garden captivated me.

That’s what literature and TV/film are to me. I don’t think of it as escpaing or leaving something behind. It’s my way of exploring the world, including my own inner world. I do that when I write as well, and I spent most of this day in Newfoundland. It was quite refreshing as the temperature is quite insane even in Norway at the moment. I like science fiction and fantasy, and there are a few dystopic ones I find uplifting. That’s the kind of escapism I like, because if I want to be disheartened, I just need to watch the news. The problem with relying on journalists to enlighten you, is that media are so used to manipulating the public that it’s hard to take them seriosuly, even when you know they probably are honest enough.

Is there any wonder we need something else? The world is pretty dystopic these days, and what worries me is that this is a perfect time for politicians to tell us the words we want to hear. This is a time, just like in the dystopic novels, that needs a hero. We may not get it in real life, but I find that good books give me a hope for a better future. The future isn’t quite as dark when I dive into a good book, and bring these thoughts back to the real world.

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