This dude’s name is Meatball. He’s my first-born monster, and already I’ve given him away. What kind of monster-mother does that make me?


These monsters are fun to imagine, design and make (my coworker’s ahead of me on the monster creation). Craft Magazine — — says you’re supposed to name them and give them a back story. Meatball Monsteropholes likes cats, though he fears one day becoming a cat-snack to one of his two kitty-housemates. He’s decidedly nocturnal. He dislikes rutabagas but he saves the fury of his rancor for squirrels, decrying “They’re just rats with good PR!”


Other monsters aren’t so amusing to think about.We try to forget nightmares.And I’ve done that quite well; I can’t remember a single childhood monster nightmare. I must have had them, though, and need to remember to ask my folks next time I see them.

In daily life, I think we have a tendency to make monsters out of the people we fear or those we don’t like. That teacher or supervisor we hated? We totally distort their bad qualities until they’re monster-like.It’s easier to blame and dehumanize “enemies” that way. It’s much harder to admit, “I was a lazy student with a bad attitude. She was just a flawed human who dealt with the situation as best she could.”

We also monsterize our fears.Whether it be job-hunting, learning waterpolo, or whatever icky situation we face, we distort it. (Maybe I should stop saying “we,” and just say “I.”) I overblow things sometimes, worrying and making them much worse by avoiding them. Guess what? Job hunting sucks. But it’s not lurking under the bed, waiting to kill me. If I face the ogre often enough, eventually I will find a job. In fact, my new one starts next week!

Even the real monsters out there — the sociopaths and illnesses and whatnot that can harm us — they’re much better faced than avoided. I have friends who are facing cancers and other life-changing, if not life-threatening, diseases. Their real struggles put my worry-worsened everyday fears in check.

I’m going to keep making stuffed monsters to remind me that monsters are mostly our own creation. I’m taking requests: I’ve already got a dissertation monster and a job-hunting monster in the work for friends. Special precedence given to those who have really compelling reasons or already have a monsterlicious back story for me.