Jessie: Happy to see patches of grass appearing in the yard!
Even though my favorite form of entertainment is reading, I confess that I do love television shows and movies too. And as much as I enjoy on-screen entertainment I ‘ve come to realize that I find a lot of it to be surprisingly stressful.
Over and over I’ll start watching a movie or even a series and then I reach a point that I have to hit the pause button. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve stopped watching a series I really like at about episode three because I am overcome with worry about one or more of the characters. I find myself peeking through my fingers as someone is about to abuse a position of trust, lie to a loved one or embarass a colleague. I may be able to make myself come back to the episode in a few days time but then again, I may not. If I am working on a tight deadline or am feeling the least bit under the weather, there is even less likelihood I will make myself find out how the story ends.
I end up watching a far larger number of martial arts movies and action thrillers than others might expect given the sorts of books I write myself. I have a soft spot for strong, silent protagonists with a wealth of fighting skills and a narrow range of emotion. When my life is unusually stressful I love nothing more than a cheesy creature flick with bad special effects and lousy acting. There is something so soothing about watching an unlikelable character being squeezed to death by an octopus-shark hybrid or being slowly nibbled on by some sort of out-sized rodent.
What I really don’t understand is it that while there is nothing I enjoy more than thinking up troubles for characters I am delighted to spend months and years with in my own stories, why can’t I make it through 45 minutes in someone else’s on-screen world? Is there something so different about the stories coming through visually? Is it the fact that I have no control over what will happen when someone else does the creating? Does this sort of thing happen to anyone else?
Writers, do you find your own story worlds easier to inhabit than those created by another? Readers, do you find shows and films stressful too? Do you have any recommendations for creature shows or action movies?