Do you ever get that little jolt in your belly? The one that says 'Here lies danger. Let's go for it!' I'm not an adrenaline junkie, far from it, or at least I'm not willing to put myself in (potentially) dangerous situations just for a little thrill. I'm just not wired quite that way. But that thrill, that twinge of danger, is a potentially powerful feeling; it brings the brain and body to a place of awareness, a moment of clarity. That's what I get out of adventure stories. I can't be the only one, or there wouldn't be so many available. It's the premise for many a cliffhanger - what will happen to our hero(ine) next week?!?!. What makes me occasionally wonder if I'm a bad person is, I never worry about what will happen, or if they'll be okay. I mean, it's fiction, we all know that the person will be all right in time for the next thrilling episode, or at least in time for the sequel. Right? So I'm just enjoying that little belly-thrill of danger - because I have a good imagination, and even if I don't picture myself in that same situation, I can still imagine how it feels to be there - without ever considering the actual danger and uncertainty of such a situation, should it ever really happen. There's just that remove of fiction. Not sure I explain this well, but... Meh. Makes sense inside my head. Having the fictional situation portrayed by someone I know just adds that little bit of give-a-damn, an extra jolt - not only is there a situation, but I actually give a darn about the person/people involved! I still know it's a story, that all will be well, so I can forget about (again) the implications were this real - were my friends really in trouble, reactions would be *very* different! I guess it's that difference between 'oh no, there's a man on that ledge!' and 'oh no, that's my friend James on that ledge!" Immediacy, familiarity, personal investment, all join to make a thrilling situation just a little more real, a little more interesting, just -- more.
I'm still pondering on this. In fact, I'll probably end up reminiscing about the Robin Hood side of things soon, because there's a good bit of comparison to be done on the legends, and just some bits of memory I want to capture before they're lost. But that's for another time.