HISTORY OF A MONSTER WHORE – PART 1

historyofamonsterwhore

I’m sure most of you would be highly offended if someone referred to you as a “Monster Whore.”  After all, both words insinuate negative and unsavory characteristics, with monsters being creatures that are typically ugly and frightening, and a whore being someone promiscuous and immoral who gets paid for sex. I am neither of these things, and yet I gladly hold the title of Monster Whore.

This all started when a reader contacted me after finishing my novel, Dark Migration. Happily, she shared the things she liked about the book and then alarmed me when she wrote, “you are such a monster whore!” At first I was taken aback. Did she mean the sex scenes were too raunchy, or did she think something far worse about me and my work? I continued to read and soon realized she had also read my first book and was simply commenting (rather boisterously) on a common underlying theme.

Even if you’re not a writer, I’m certain you’ve seen this frequently given advice: “write what you know” or “write what you love.” Every new writer hears one or both of these phrases and for good reason. When a writer is knowledgeable or has a deep-seated love for a subject matter, it shows in their writing and connects with readers. So, this is why my love for monsters is written all over the pages of my novels. And believe it or not, my affection for the monster world began with a Saturday morning re-run of a 1950’s cartoon, Water, Water Every Hare.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kptq9tF7qxI

In this Bugs Bunny episode, Bugs is trapped in the lab of an evil scientist who needs a rabbit’s brain to complete his experiment.  When Bugs tries to escape, the scientist releases his monster: a big, orange hairball wearing sneakers. This is one of my all-time favorite Chuck Jones cartoons. The line, “Monsters are such interesting people,” spoken by the snarky cartoon rabbit, stuck with me throughout the years and ultimately helped to shape me as a writer. For me, monsters really are the most fascinating characters.

Another memorable and influential childhood monster, though not a cartoon, is Cookie Monster. Created by Jim Henson in the late sixties, Cookie made his first appearance on Sesame Street during the 1971-1972 season. He quickly rose to fame with his signature song, C is for Cookie.

This is still one of the best known songs from Sesame Street. Occasionally, I sing it to my husband, in my best cookie monster voice, when he’s pigging-out on a fistful of chocolate chip cookies.

And who can forget, especially being a child in the seventies, the strong appeal of Casper, the Friendly Ghost. This child-like ghost is a nonconformist among adult ghosts who enjoy scaring the living. Casper would rather make friends with a person than scare them.  When the thing that’s suppose to frighten you only wants to be your pal, how can you refuse. I couldn’t, which is why the monsters in my stories are most often the heroes.

However, as the years passed and my view of the world expanded, I discovered monsters were very scary, even nightmare inspiring. Horrible creatures sent from the depths of Hell to do real harm. I have compiled a gruesome list of my favorite demons and ghouls, but I’ll save those monsters for another time.

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