Until my imaginary friends excuse me from my punkah wallah duties, I will be unconvinced that they care about my circumstances. Notwithstanding my attraction to their diamond hoard, which was formed in Jupiter’s atmosphere, and for which they traded a significant number of vats of marshmallow fluff to Jupiter’s smart, colossal lobsters, those prickly, pretend loved ones regard me and all other hereand now sentients as tosh. See, those bugs’ common reaction to flesh-and-blood beings is usually extreme, prosecutorial, or calculated misconduct.
Be that as it may, in my writing, I deign to feature fictitious hedgehogs’ adventures, as well as to highlight the process by which my children’s invisible Komodo dragons went AWOL. To boot, I publicize the dazzles of free ranging mucoid, blue zebras that are hiding from certain cornucopias of carnivorous, three-headed slugs. Not only am I a storyteller who gets high on adverbs, who mixes more metaphors than platypodes have pockets and who attempts to matchmake terms like “balderdash” and “xylophone,” but I’m also a storyteller who appreciates the ways in which seemingly picayune descriptions of whimsical beasts facilitate the growth of new ideas in people.
Writers’ footling notions, more exactly, our comparative comfort with yetis, adjules, and krakens, enables us to ricochet accepted wisdoms, and, apart from that, to crack open staid beliefs. When we dabble in the realm of outlier varmints, there’s no need for us to rely on rocketships or bathyscaphes to bring mind-broadening concepts to the fore. Narratives containing: face-eating spiny mammals, who have given up vegetarianism, lavender and green refrigerator colonists, who mean to conquer Earth one shelf at a time, or orphaned chimeras, who are angered by greater humanity’s lack of dry wit, make perfect mouthpieces for barking about class systems, child exploitation, and racial hatred.
The cryptid that sheds purple scales on the sofa and the plant person that takes up residency in the family bathtub equally become audience eye-openers. Namely, those life forms can be pressed into service to teach us about questionable human deeds. Assemblages of words featuring monsters instruct, for instance, that it is less important how a “hero” faces down select “occupational hazards” or bounds past “romantic troubles” than it is how he or she jettisons his or her pernicious tendencies. After all, the general public, not invented zooids or bone-eaters, endure as the universe’s most fiendish denizens. Literature that exploits make-believe helps us recognize that truth and helps us route our sinister impetuses.
Additionally, stories filled with illusory characters help us cope with other folks’ attendant creepy crawlies. Whereas neither gigantic starfish nor shrunken behemoths are meant to replace clergy, therapists, or beloveds as guides for our self-improvement, fake fauna do constitute viable rhetorical vehicles for processing otherwise unreachable corners of interpersonal conundrums. Simulations are especially important to those among us who need to break away from the malfeasance of ostensibly mild-mannered citizens, who are actually more akin to axe murderers or other types of villains. Meaning, the hug of a maraudering mauve pangolin won’t necessarily, favorably impact the #MeToo movement, but its clinch might break the dissonance of a reader struggling to respond to what its hug uncomfortably represents. Rather, from time to time, grappling, when reading, with conjured brutes enables troubled souls to better deal with reality.
More precisely, dark suppositions belonging to social anthropology, social psychology, plain sociology or plain psychology are more readily digested when sheathed in fairy dust or when coated with the rancid blood of pygmy pegasi than when spelled out without filters. P.L. Travers was onto something when she had her protagonist, Mary Poppins, claim that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Granted, No Pegasus or unicorn can substitute for rough, unsparing problem-solving, yet, mythical quadrupeds can lead us to otherwise overlooked solution paths.
Consider the following relational challenge. In one version of a tale, boy meets girl, girl avoids boy, and boy is forced to date someone else. In a slight variation on the same theme, a two-headed gelatinous wildebeest bull smells the ozone-sweet aroma of a two-headed gelatinous wildebeest cow and subsequently makes sexual overtures. Unfortunately, the cow he smelled had already been half-devoured by a prowling space cheetah; the air he sniffed was scented not by pheromones, but by the cow’s dangling viscera. Her “aroma” signaled not estrus, but death. Thereafter, the coalition containing the space cheetah snuffles the bull’s pheromones and then makes him their second course.
In the above telling, the first instance consists of a predictable path of plot points and as such is fairly useless for stirring readers’ sentiments. The second instance, however, puts new slipcovers on the same points, thereby increasing those points’ ability to agitate. As soon as authors use figurative critters to illuminate events, their work becomes worth its price in paper or screen time. Above and beyond slapping consumers upside the head with undercooked spaghetti, or taking away their trolling privileges, the best that wordies can do to heighten their viewers’ sensibilities is to dress real world problems up in incisors and fur.
A third remarkable feature of stirring moral cookpots by transforming aliens into utensils is that the strategy has utility not only for short stories, but also for poetry, essays, drama, and novels. When it comes to fixing the inhabitants of this ecosphere, it’s not the genre of a composition that matters but its impact. To wit, three-legged hippos often succeed where preachy monographs fail.
Unlike the majority of sorts of incitement, wacked manifestations of mobile, breathing fancies elicit responses form society’s incurious side. Entities with palpable cathermerality, particularly those with entertaining or horrific behaviors, cause end users to read more than initial chapters or to scroll down many pages. Moreso, those feet and wings invite witnesses to become increasingly open as well as vulnerable to ambush. Sadly, sometimes word slingers have to trap to save. Raising personal and social consciousness had long been an acceptable rationale for ensnaring. Accordingly, it behooves scribblers to continue to swim alongside amethyst cats and pink elephants.
In my case, too, my greatest satisfaction comes from crafting yarns about eukaryotic whatever-they’re-called, polka dotted Otts, or too-small-to-see creatures that mew and spew in the middle of the night. When I construct works about the incredible or about the barely conceivable, I’m happy and I’m providing audiences with fresh approaches to mental architecture.