I’m disappointed by a novel I’m reading right now because I can’t imagine the author believes in the possibility of monsters. It’s a failing I find hard to forgive: what do you lose by believing a monster’s possible? Not a figurative beast, a metaphorical ‘monster’ … but a monster.
A monster, like a fish or a snake is a creature. A monster as a creature.
I’m not even sure how I worked this out; and I’ve no idea if I’m right. Perhaps there’s something idealised in the sense of mystery: the sense of it, itself? The register? The movement? A kind of scratching movement with staccato interludes which reminds me more of chalk on a blackboard than the slipperiness, the sudden appearances, the dissolves, the blurs, the fading and surging, the conflicts, the paradoxes, the headaches and the ever-walking-in-circles-ness of the unknown.
I was interviewed yesterday and reminded how much I experience writing as a series of movements and transitions rather than details and references. Donald Trump came up as a monster not of the kind I mean here, more as a ‘monster’, and as he did I realised how much more possible men (there’d never be a woman) like Trump are if we dispense with the possibility of monsters, ghosts and other more mysterious phenomena. Trump thrives in a world of true or false, fact or fiction, right or wrong and black or white. Who wins? You decide, etc.
Take away the illusion of the certainty of knowing, start living not as a humanist or a mystic, an atheist or a believer in a God, but as someone who works out life differently, who can tolerate not getting it, not knowing if there are monsters while understanding it’s very unlikely one will trouble me today, and there will be fewer ‘monsters’. Fewer beasts. Maybe just monsters. I’ll understand, I’ll feel, something about truth that shows how the idea of ‘post-truth’ politics is more part of a problem than it can ever be of a solution.