Press Pause

Jessie: Happy to see patches of grass appearing in the yard!

blue-308748_1280Even 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?


About Jessie Crockett

Jessie Crockett wears a lot of hats, both literally and literarily. As Jessie Crockett she is the Daphne Award winning author of Live Free or Die and the nationally bestselling Sugar Grove series. As Jessica Ellicott she has received starred reivews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal for her historical mystery Murder in an English Village. As Jessica Estevao she writes the Agatha Award nominated Change of Fortune Mysteries. She loves the beach, fountain pens, Mini Coopers and throwing parties. She lives in northern New England where she obsessively knits wool socks and enthusiastically speaks Portuguese with a shocking disregard for the rules of grammar.
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8 Responses to Press Pause

  1. kaitlynkathy says:

    Hi, Jessie. I relax with movies from the Marvel Comics universe—Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, Thor, etc. The only thing I had to stop watching was the 2016 season of Agents of Shield, but the current season has me hooked again. The Jurassic Park movies are fun too. I stay away from cop shows and standard action/adventure that’s too”real” . . . with the odd exception of the Die Hard movies.

  2. Though don’t have all that much time to watch TV, when I do, I tend toward the British mystery/crime shows, or, if I am really stressed, the British Baking Show. it is anxiety-producing to wonder if someone’s soufflé is going to collapse, but I can handle it.

  3. Barbara Ross says:

    Bill and I love watching TV together at the end of a long day. I like series with interesting individual episodes surrounded by long character ARCs. Right now we are on an Ann Cleeves kick, watching both Shetland and Vera.

    I do watch both TV and movies with my hands over my eyes if it gets too bloody or explosion-y.

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