First the Monster, Void, Then the Scare

Goya | Saturn Devouring Son
Goya | Saturn Devouring Son

Building the perfect beast means first hatching the egg and then only later dealing with the poison. In other words, a writer first births in great peals and paroxysm of pain and skullduggery, before cleaning up all the evidence of the enterprise. A writer creates, and only later does she fashion the creation into something that could go out into the wider world and converse with others — if only to digest them, or fall in love with them. The initial impulse is pure subjectivity — this is my child, throws switch. Lightening bolt, lightening bolt. Fission. He’s alive, he’s alive. Nothing to wring our hands over just yet. The bolts in the neck. The lousy stitching. The ill-filling clothes. The dullard’s brain. All will be taken care of in due time. The need to pretty up, to align, to fashion the grotesquerie into glamorousness comes only after the blood, guts, sweat, and tears have been shed. First drafts, second, fourth, sixth… whatever it takes. It’s all gauze and detritus. Goo. Then, only then once a reasonable entity resides, give the creature something to do, to be with, to ramble and rock, usher toward to the rising, a climax, the inevitable fall and conclusion. Open its lips. Give its senses something to wonder over. Worry the details of its great expectations met and stymied. Put things in its pockets. Color its past in checkers. Name it: Grendel, Humbaba, Clarissa, Mr. Darcy, Holden or Harry. But always: First the monster, the void, then the scare.