In the last year or so, I lost my father, my sister, my grandmother in law, and two cats to death. It as been pretty sad. That and losing my job make for a world of depressing thoughts.
The thing that has gotten me through these hard times has been fiction.
Fictional characters take you outside of yourself, and put you in a different world. It allows you to feel different emotions and to drop away guilt and stress for a short time.
This year, my top escapist fantasy has been the Sherlock series. It has compelling characters, and situations that can take me outside of myself. It relieves my stress.
To tell the truth, I am embarrassed by how much time I have spent watching you-tube fan videos of the characters. I find a new one and watch it over and over until another one captivates me like a new toy.
I’ve joined a new community. A community of mostly women who talk about dropping to the floor at the sound of the words “Vatican cameos” …DROP! And who consider buying long coats and tying their scarves like ties.
This isn’t the first time that I’ve witnessed obsessive fandom. My grandmother in law, we called her Gigi, was an obsessive fan of the nineties ( AandE/BBC) production of Pride and Prejudice. She watched it so often that we would give her extra copies at Christmas to replace the tapes that she had worn down from watching almost every day the year before.
I can clearly remember the time when as a young wife I scoffed at romance novels. Gigi told me not to do that. “One day you two will crave these stories.” she said, and she was right.
While I still shun a conventional romance novel, I find that I adore Sherlock and other shows for the romance of it. I suppose I long for a love that has not yet been broken by death.
Boy that sounds melodramatic. What I mean to say is.
I lightly touch my own shoulders and imagine the world changing around my half-lidded eyes. I hear the voices of the characters arguing, and I can imagine myself there at 221B Baker street watching it all, and it is comforting, and it is safe.
I see them from the outside, and yet I can internalize their feelings. I can imagine what it would feel like to have lived to ones thirties without ever having a real friend, and finally to have someone who likes you. Someone who would kill for you. I’d want to hang on to them. I’d be desperate to keep their friendship.
I can imagine what if feels like to be alone, wondering what to do with my life. Bored with it, only to find someone remarkable who amazes me. Someone who needs me and makes life anything but boring.
I close my eyes and I tingle from head to toe, bathing in pleasant emotions. Sitting outside myself. It calms me. It cleanses me. It makes me happy.
I watch fluff videos because they tend to have emotional themes. They take a tiny bit of the story and concentrate it. Boiling it over a warm fire until one pure emotion comes out.
I take them like bites of candy from a box of assorted chocolates. Most are sweet. Some are strong (mature and cracked videos), and some are sad ( the Sherlock death scenes).
I wallow in them, and they cleanse me. They wash away the bad feelings from the day, and allow me to sleep in peace.
I imagine a coyote biting the neck of my kitten, and then I shake my head, imagining instead the time when Sherlock was being arrested and John punched out the police commissioner. I smile…the bad thought is washed away.
I can only imagine that others feel as I do. These shows are so compelling that they pull us out of our troubled existence, and let us imagine being capable in a different way. Capable of love. Capable of wisdom. Capable of need without burdening those around us with our negative emotions.
I join in a conversation with others like myself who wonder just how much Sherlock loves John. Some say much more than I suppose. Some say less, but when I weigh the thoughts in my heart, the love sloshes around pleasantly and fills me with bliss.
These stories and videos help me get through the day, so I’ll post about them without embarrassment ( well some embarrassment) , because I know that I can’t be the only person who feels this way. I can’t be the only one who gets joy living with other people in my head. Isn’t that the true essence of fiction anyway?
I’ll end with a video.
This one is about the character Molly. An original character of the BBC Sherlock story. A girl who works in the morgue. She has an unrequited love for Sherlock that frankly will never be returned, but she keeps on trying. When I stand in her sensible shoes, I feel desire, sadness, and a touch of hope.
Dive in. Don’t be ashamed. That’s what fiction is for.