Shana Galen
Shana Galen


Fictionalized World, Quotes, tragedy

I just finished reading a book for my book club called The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. It’s the story of Hadley Richardson, Hemingway’s first wife, how they met, married, and how the marriage ended. It’s not my typical reading material, and that’s what I love (and hate) about this book club. It pushes me to read books I would otherwise never pick up, and a lot of the time I agree with that first inclination.

I enjoyed The Paris Wife. It was engaging and well-written and I have a connection to Hemingway because my mother was born in Oak Park, IL, and my grandparents knew Hemingway’s father. The book is touted as being quite accurate, as far as these sorts of books go, but I’m sure that doesn’t mean every line is exactly what Hadley Richardson thought. And even though I am an author I find myself much more sympathetic to Hadley than I am to Ernest. He tends to exhibit what we would now label as “diva behavior.”

But there is one paragraph about Ernest Hemingway I could totally relate to. It really does sum up what so many of us love about being a writer. Here it is.

“I couldn’t reach into every part of Ernest and he didn’t want me to. He needed me to make him feel safe and backed up, yes, the same way I needed him. But he also liked that he could disappear into his work, away from me. And return when he wanted to.”

I remember when my daughter was a newborn and she never (or so it felt) slept or stopped crying, and I was exhausted and the days went in slow motion, the thing that saved me as I rocked her endlessly was being able to escape in my mind. I plotted much of The Rogue Pirate’s Bride walking and rocking that baby. I’m not a plotter, but I needed to go somewhere else besides that dark nursery and that wailing infant.

And still, when tragedies that don’t touch me occur, I escape into writing. On the day of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, CT, like many of you, I was saddened and horrified. I sat and watched the news reports coming in, each one more surreal than the last. When I couldn’t take any more, I turned off the TV and internet and escaped into my work in progress. Regency England and the world of my own making could sweep me away for a time. I could return when I wanted.

What about you? How do you “escape”? Christmas is over, but I’ll give one person who comments a choice of one of my recent books–The Making of a Duchess, The Making of a Gentleman, Lord and Lady Spy, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride, or When You Give a Duke a Diamond.


47 thoughts on “Escape

  1. Kirsten says:

    I mostly escape by reading romance novels & eating chocolate. Preferably at the same time ๐Ÿ˜€
    I get absorbed by the story and the hope & the romance. It takes me away and stops me from experiencing worry, sadness or fear.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I think that sounds like a great escape, Kirsten!

  2. Sandi in OH says:

    I escape by reading, or listening to music, or daydreaming. I wouldn’t watch anything about Newtown because I felt like we were invading the town’s privacy.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Sandi, I agree some of the coverage did feel that way. I don’t think kids should be interviewed or people who are in the midst of grief photographed. Listening to music is another way I escape.

  3. Connie Fischer says:

    Escape to me is when I get the chance to sit down and read. I think most of us who blog here would agree with that. The ultimate escape is to go on a cruise with a Kindle filled with yummy books. One can sit and relax anywhere on the ship and read. Not having to clean my room or fix meals would be the icing on the cake. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Connie, I agree. I never have enough time to read. Took me a week to finish The Paris Wife, when it was really a two-day book.

  4. Reading has saved me many a time when real life has become too sad. Plotting too. Excellent post, Shana!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Thanks, Kristan. Sometimes it’s hard to work when life is sad, but once I get past the initial difficulty focusing, it is a relief to forget.

  5. Michelle G says:

    Its nice to know that there are other out there just like me. I escape by reading and spending time with myself, like going to lunch, a movie, etc. Some people may think its sad going out to lunch by myself, but I don’t need others too keep me happy all the time!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Michelle, before I had a small child, I used to escape by going to movies too. That’s a great way to dive into another world for a little while.

  6. eli yanti says:

    Reading book and listening music ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Eli, I do that too, and then the song is linked to the book for me.

  7. May says:

    Reading, I think… It does help…

  8. RobynDeHart RobynDeHart says:

    Great blog, Shana, and so very true. I escape into my own fictional world often when the real one is too much to take. Sometimes though I need someone else’s world and reading becomes so vital. I’m thankful that I’m a writer, and equally thankful I’m a reader.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      That’s true, Robyn. My own world sometimes does feel like too much work, and the books others write seem so much easier to slip into.

  9. Ella Quinn says:

    Great post, Shana. I escape by writing, reading, paddle boarding or walking.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Paddle boarding, Ella? That does sound relaxing.

  10. catslady says:

    I too had to turn the tv off after what happened at Sandy Hook. Reading has always and will always be my way of escaping. My gratitude goes out to each and every author who has let me be taken away into their worlds!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      We’re grateful to have awesome readers like you, catslady!

  11. Stefanie D says:

    I escape by reading a book while I take a hot bath. So relaxing!!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      That’s my favorite! Throw in some champagne, Stefanie, and I’m set!

  12. bn100 says:

    taking walks

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Walks are very nice, BN100. I actually like walking.

  13. Miranda Mason says:

    I’m with everyone else! Reading for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I have to agree, Miranda!

  14. Barbara Elness says:

    My escape has always been reading a good book. They’ve gotten me through some tough times, but I could always just get away for a while and come back to the problems later with a better attitude. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Barbara, I think you have a great point. I don’t really escape, either, but I deal with the problems better after a brief recess.

  15. Chelsea B. says:

    By reading, watching a favorite movie, or playing Uno with my sister ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Uno! I love that game, Chelsea. I think I even have it. I should try that.

  16. Ann s. says:

    My mother loaned mr this book and I haven’t picked it up yet. I am with you that it is not my usual reading choice, but going outside the comfort zone is good. Reading and walking my dogs is my escape from a hectic life. Spending me time isn’t selfish, I have found it necessary for me to be a better wife and mother.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Me time is very necessary, Ann. I tend to feel guilty about it anyway.

  17. Shana Shana says:

    I’ll randomly pick a winner tomorrow evening and contact her. I’ll post who it is on Sunday (our usual day to post winners). So feel free to keep commenting!

  18. Reading is an escape for me or drowning myself in music. I love being able to pick up a book and escape to a world so different from my everyday life.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Danielle, I don’t know what I’d do without books and music. They have saved my sanity countless times.

  19. Rita Wray says:

    I turn on the music and read. That is so relaxing to me.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      It relaxes me, too, Rita. Wish I could do it more often.

  20. chey says:

    I escape by reading.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Me, too, Chey, and I’m so glad there are so many good books to escape into.

  21. LilMissMolly says:

    After working more than 20 hours in two days at work, I’m really looking forward to escaping to Disney. Thankfully, I’m taking a bus and can sleep on the way down there!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      That’s a lot of work, LilMissMolly! Enjoy Disney. Sounds like the perfect escape.

  22. Deb says:

    It depends, I think, on what I’m trying to escape from. I mostly read, but getting on FB and reading others’ posts and comments can help lighten a mood or playing a mindless game helps. Eating chocolate helps to soothe some things or taking a hot bath…. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Deb, I use FB and Twitter to de-stress too. It’s like I’m stopping into a virtual coffee shop with all of my friends. It can be hard to leave, though.

  23. Janie McGaugh says:

    Books (specifically, romance books) are my escape!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Me, too, Janie! I don’t know what i would do if I hadn’t ever discovered romance books.

  24. CrystalGB says:

    Reading and watching movies are my escape. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Me, too, Crystal. I wish I had more time to watch movies!

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