LIVING VICARIOUSLY or LIVING VICTORIOUSLY
We are delighted to have Sable Hunter once again grace our blog. I love her guest blogs, as well as her books. So sit back and enjoy as she discusses the vicarious lives of readers and writers.
by Sable Hunter
Not too long ago an acquaintance of mine asked me how I was doing. I answered her like this:
A – Well, Jess is dating a new girl. She’s a chemical engineer and a Vegan.
B – Uncle Michael bought a motorcycle and is taking lessons.
C – I’ve just about finished the book to solve Aron’s mystery. My readers will be so relieved.
Then, she asked the dreaded question. “No, I want to know what you’ve been doing.” Well, heck. You know what I’ve been doing. I’ve been taking care of the others, writing from dawn to dusk and growing older and more boring by the minute!
Ha! It’s not as bad as I make it out to be. I bought a motorcycle and took lessons. (I didn’t enjoy them, but the rest of the family was happy). And my writing and all my endeavors are doing well.
But what is my source of joy? Is it in getting out and doing dangerous things and falling in love and meeting new people and seeing the world? Or is in puttering around my house, having daydreams that won’t ever come true, and creating heroes I’ll never kiss?
My acquaintance (please notice that I’m not referring to her as friend) judged me harshly. She says I am living vicariously through my books. Instead of doing something with my own life, she says I am just writing about other people’s lives.
Well, I disagree.
Ha! Are you surprised?
I may not be walking into bars and approaching strange men and offering myself to them in exchange for a margarita, but I am placing myself in situations to be examined, judged, and accepted or found wanting. What I do takes guts.
I have offered to a critical public the very essence of my dreams. No one has to guess what I’m like. I’ve poured all of my insecurities and foibles and quirks into every female character. No one has to wonder how I like sex or what festishes or kinks I am drawn to, I’ve put all of those on broad open display. Do I have a crush on someone? Yeah, and if you read my work closely enough, you know exactly who it is. Do I have questions about the meaning of life or the validity of religion? Obviously, I don’t even try to hide the fact that I listen to a different drummer.
Before I began writing, I was a public speaker. Talk about courage? Now, there’s a career path not many would choose. Getting up in front of a crowd, every eye upon you, watching you speak, watching you move your hands, your body language – just the thought of making themselves vulnerable in that manner gives most people sweaty palms and a weak bladder. But, I loved it. I can get up in front of a crowd and talk for an hour without notes.
So, I do have strengths. I can pour out my heart in the written word and accept judgments given in a series of stars whereby some don’t judge my writing, they judge whether or not they like the characters I’ve created, even when I’ve done an excellent job creating a character I intend for them to dislike – ha!
I can stand before an auditorium full of people who have come expressly to hear my views on any number of esoteric topics and I can look them in the eye and persuade them that black is white and white is black and there are at least 50 shades of grey – ha!
But what I can’t do is the one on one, the intimate. I can speak to 100 with ease, but two or three rends me weak with trepidation. That is why I don’t do book signings or conventions.
That’s really beside the point though. I enjoy living vicariously. It allows me to go places I’ve never been and walk beside people I shall never meet. Living vicariously through books allows me to feel emotions I won’t allow myself to experience in real life.
Whether I am creating a world of my own in one of my books or immersing myself in the writings of another, I can gift myself with an illusion.
The other day Jess was reading a book. He said it was good, but it had no purpose. I questioned him about his thought process on purpose. And what he said made me think.
He said my books served to allow women to experience the whole spectrum of a relationship. The thrill of the first meeting, the magic of a first kiss, the ups and downs of courtship, even the sexual fulfillment of the coming together of two people who desire one another more than anything. I was flattered – I didn’t realize I was doing that. What a purpose!
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t gotten to experience all of those things – not as many times as I would like. So I allow myself to do so, in a controlled and safe environment.
Is it just like the real thing? Heck, no. But it is damn sure better than nothing.
Living vicariously through books has allowed me to be different people. I have stood in a Dom’s dungeon dressed in black leather. I have flown a spaceship to a planet inhabited by sexy aliens who wanted nothing more than to fulfill my every whim. Not long ago, I rode in a wagon train and fell for a rogue outlaw who tied me to a tree, ravished me and made me like it. Ha!
When I live vicariously, I can go back in time or soar into the future; my recliner becomes a cozy time machine. When I live vicariously I can kiss princes, I can seduce astronauts, and I can even fall in love with a man who can shift into a lion! Come on! I may live in New Orleans, but I can’t even find those guys on Bourbon Street!
Bottom line, I am a proponent of living vicariously. I want my life to be exciting, but I know my limitations. If I have the ability to weave a world where right prevails, love conquers all and holding out for a hero is not an impossible dream – I am of all people most blessed.
I may spend the rest of my days on my sunny porch, in my white rocking chair, dressed in my little cotton sundress with a few cats draped on the bannister – but while I’m there, I’ll be writing and reading about places and people who thrill my heart and sweep my mind beyond the stars.
Living vicariously is living victoriously.
And you always hear the analogy – he who can’t – teaches. That’s bologna.
And it’s the same with writing.
Writing is not a substitute of doing – nor is reading. But it adds a level of achievability and a realm of possibility that mankind has explored and appreciated since Gilgamesh wrote his adventures and Homer wrote his Odyssey. The Apostle Paul wrote most of the New Testament while sitting behind the bars of a Roman prison. Jane Austen wrote of love, but she never married. Anne Frank dreamed of being – normal. God, can you imagine that? And she wrote these words:
When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived!
So, to my acquaintance who took me to task for living more in my books than in my skin – I challenge her to walk in my shoes, travel in my mind, and experience what my heart feels. I don’t feel cheated.
I feel pretty damn alive.
Join me in my world and live vicariously with me in my books. I’m not a bad neighbor – really.
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