Social Skills and Writing

One of the things that I love about reading is the escape. The more stressed out I get, the more I read. That’s why I’m not overly fond of reading about reality. I love reading myth and legend. As Mircae Eliade says, the figures of myth and the world they exist in live outside of time and place in ‘illo tempore’. What a perfect place to escape to when you don’t feel like working on an invoice, or on slogging through one form or another, or don’t want to think about what might have happened when some road rage-ridden crazy blazes past. And the forms of the tales often provide some kind of reassurance that if a formula is followed, then things will turn out okay, however circuitously.

The creation of other realities is even more compelling for those of us who live mostly in our heads anyway. My dad has Asperger’s Syndrome. That’s an autism spectrum disorder, that usually produces very smart people who are very focused on a particular topic, with profound deficits in social ability. I do not have this syndrome, but I can see the back of the bus. Without other people to keep me anchored and bring my marked introversion to my attention, I would very likely disappear into my own head. “Hey, you’re doing that ‘not answering me’ thing again. Did you hear me ask a question?” Recently, such syndromes have gained in popularity in the diagnosing world. But when my dad was a kid, and when I was in school, such behavior was simply called, ‘eccentric’, or ‘spacey’.

Well, as compelling as immersing myself in another world is that someone else created, it has become addictive to create my own. It also gives me a measure of control, one I along with many people, don’t always feel in the real world. And finally, it’s practice. When I create characters in a story, and think through how they might react in different situations, based on what I have seen of people, it forces me to think through and develop social skills that I didn’t have before.

Of course, those imagined situations superimposed on real life never end up the way you imagine, but at least it adds comedy to my life…


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