‘Escape’. I have a page of A4 devoted to this tiny word which seems to strangle any ounce of creativity within me.
Not that I don’t appreciate its versatility or flexibility. The two inch entry in the fairly modest dictionary on our bookshelf presents a multitude of opportunity for inspiration.
Escape vb 1. To get away or break free from (confinements, etc.). 2. To manage to avoid (danger, etc.) 3. (intr.; usually foll. by from) (of gases, liquids, etc.) to issue gradually, as from a crack; seep; leak. 4. (tr.) to elude; be forgotten by. 5. (tr.) to be articulated inadvertently or involuntarily from. 6. The act of escaping or state of having escaped… [and so on.]
Yet for every theme I identify, the same blockage stands in the path of any meaningful narrative. Authenticity. Or the lack thereof. I feel unqualified and inexperienced and have little to inform any writing of substance.
This everyday word offers a constant source of hope to thousands of oppressed men and women around the world. Individuals born into cultures which provide no liberty or freedom of speech. I can hardly write on this and so cross it off my list.
As with those who are born into conflict and danger. For those living in warzones, where the dull rattle of artillery fire is the only true constant, the prospect of escape to safety and security must tuck them up in bed at night and chase away their demons. I cannot begin to put myself in those shoes and so cross it off the list.
It is the twenty-four hour dream of those wrongfully incarcerated and punished for crimes they did not commit; and the goal and subject of intricate plans of those for whom punishment is just. Again, experience lacking, I cross this off my list.
It is the junkie-creating lie, administered by powder, pill or needle. I have never suffered the level of torment to seek chemical escape and so cross this off my list.
It is the ultimatum presented to the unsuspecting by merciless natural disasters – earthquake, floods, famine and fire. Escape or die. I daren’t – or can’t – imagine the horror and anguish felt in those moments. Another option crossed off the list.
It is a teenager’s dream –and age old deception – the lure of excitement to be found on dazzling city streets. As much as I had often been tempted, I had always been either too sensible or too boring to go through with a runaway adventure and so cross this off my list.
It is a promise of a life more fulfilling for those still travelling the greyed and creaking conveyor belt of unsatisfactory professional pursuits. This has definite potential, but I am uninspired.
It is the promise of a week away in exotic lands, where the sunshine temporarily melts away real-world anxiety and trouble. I could write on this. But presented with so many more significant and life-changing alternatives, it feels so lame and unworthy.
Perhaps I think too much. Or maybe my imagination is tucked away in a box at the back of a dark and dusty cupboard, but it seems that for today at least, logic and reasoning and a distinct lack of experience prevent me from writing on any of the more exciting or meaningful interpretations of Escape. And so I find that I can write on nothing at all.
At the outset I felt I needed more adventure in my life; experiences to help inform and shape a story. In fact, for the sake of a story, I think I’ll stick to my peaceful and comfortable little life. Or hunt out that box at the back of the dark and dusty cupboard.
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