Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why I Love Nessie and Other Monsters

by Filan McDuff

There’s something appealing about monsters.  I’ve always had an opposite streak. If other children were scared, I was determined to investigate. The only scary thing about Nessie seemed to be her size. She can’t help being big, any more than children can help being small.  The fat lady at the circus was well-loved. And she was certainly big.

Living on the shore of Loch Ness, I often heard people speculate about what Nessie might eat.  Maybe people or horses.  But that was just guesses. It’s hard to be afraid of guesses.

Every time I investigated, Nessie just seemed nicer and more wonderful.

Maurice Sendak wrote a book called Where The Wild Things Are.  In it Max goes to a land of scary monsters. At first he’s afraid they’ll eat him, but then they have a party, and he goes home.
Author Sendak says first he wrote the story about horses, but he couldn’t draw horses.  Then he drew his relatives with mismatched parts.  And finally his editor suggested he draw monsters.

Often we don’t know what we are afraid of. Fear can be so extreme, I remember wondering if it was possible to be thrown off the planet if somebody got angry enough with me. Fear that big is hard to focus on – so people are afraid of what they don’t really know.  A big creature swimming in the loch makes a handy focus for fear.  First, we don’t know much about her. And second, she doesn’t know much about us, so she can’t be angry with us for thinking mean things about her.

Our government used to be afraid of the Russians. Now they are frequent tourists and trading partners.  There was never anything really scary about the Russians except that we didn’t know them.

When people said scary things about Nessie, I knew they were really afraid of something else. And that made me want to meet Nessie in person.

I go out into the Loch every day, looking for her. Sometimes I think I see her winking at me.