Traditionally, they seem to reside under beds and in closets, anywhere that seems dark even in the middle of the day. That’s where children put them, anyway. As we grow older, the dark places do not disappear. They simply migrate from the shadows in our bedrooms to the spooky darkness of the woods at night or the black depths of open water where no sunlight has ever penetrated. The monsters evolve from vague boogeymen to more specified creatures sanctioned by the culture at large. Eventually, as we learn more about ourselves and others the monsters are no longer creatures at all but human monsters, the homicidal maniacs and bloodthirsty killers of the nightly news.
Our monsters grow up with us. Indeed, when I think of monsters anymore the idea has become so abstract that it doesn’t even seem to apply to physical entities anymore. Societal monsters come to mind, like fanaticism or apathy. Laziness is a monster I’ve battled with my whole life. He usually wins.
We are all monster hunters, I think. Drawn to what frightens us with a morbid curiosity that they say can be deadly to felines but seems to drive us as a thinking species always to bigger and better discoveries. ‘I’m afraid to do that,’ you might say out loud, while another, smaller voice inside repeats no less insistently, ‘Let’s do it anyway’.
A metaphysical monster hunt is as good a way to describe the writing process as any I’ve heard.
How would you describe writing? Do you chase monsters? Have you ever caught one…