Weekend Do: Escape

February 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Awhile ago, I came across this quote by author A. C. Benson, “All the best stories are but one story in reality – the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.”

So no matter what you’re escaping from or to this weekend, here are a few things to help you on your way.

1. Do read! Elif Shafak, a Turkish writer, gives an incredible TED talk on the politics of fiction, how reading breaks down all sort of walls and gives us better insight into understanding one another. “If you want to destroy anything,” she says, “surround it with thick walls.”

2. Do enter into the noble act of creating (do we ever have a Weekend Do without this advice?). In The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Micahel Chabon writes about comic book artists drawing their superheroes in the 1940s, how the act of creating is itself a hopeful escape.

“In literature and folklore, the significance and the fascintation of golems . . . lay in their soulessness, in their tireless inhuman strength, in their metaphoircal association with overweening human ambition, and in the frightening ease with which they passed beyond the control of their horrified and admiring creators. But none of these were among the true reasons that impelled men, time after time, to hazard the making of golems. The shaping of golem was a gesture of hope, offered against hope, in a time of desperation. It was the expression of a yearning that a few magic words and an artful hand might produce something– one poor dumb, powerful thing – exempt from the crushing strictures, from the ills, cruelties, and inevtiable failures of the greater Creation. It was the voicing of a vain wish, when you got down to it, to escape. To slip, like the Escapist, free of the entangling chain of reality and the straitjacket of physical laws . . . the Senate investigation into comic books always cited “escapism” among the litany of injurious consequences of their reading, and dwelled on the pernicious effect, on young minds, of satisfying the desire to escape. As if there could be any more noble or necessary service in life.”

3. Do watch a heist movie and note their escapist strategies. One of my favorites is The Maiden Heist, where three old art aficionados working at a museum plan to steal their favorite paintings to avoid being separated from them forever.

4. Do browse the dichromatic and odd world of the French painter Bruno Michaud. His work has a note of mystery and intrigue, a world where you could surely lose yourself if you wanted.

5. Do escape into music. Both the name and music of The Wilderness of Manitoba set the perfect mood for escapism in these lovely harmonies. Just close your eyes and drift.

Are you gone yet?


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