Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Red-Eyed Multi-blob Monster: The Wisdom of the Inner Critic

  Once upon a time, in land not so far away, the land of your dreams, nightmares, and darkest secrets, there was a monster. And not just any monster, but a red-eyed multi-blob monster. Now, you may never have heard of the red-eyed multi-blob monster, but that doesn’t mean he does exist. 
He hides under doorways, waiting to grab your feet. He hides in the fridge while you look for something to eat, He hides in the shower, deep down in the drain, but he hides in the toilet when it starts to rain.
He’ll hide in your ear when your trying to talk, yelling sarcastically, always read to mock. He swims in your stomach like an eel in a moat, waiting to criticize something you wrote. He lurks in the darkness, always ready to find something wrong with you or your writing, stealing your peace of mind.
Does he seem familiar now, now that I’ve described him?
Maybe you know him by a different name, but he is the red-eyed multi-blob monster just the same. The critic, the judge, the hangman, the gunner – he’s just so mean it makes you wonder, why he’s there at all, why we bother to listen to that monster in the dark – he’s got no wisdom!
Or does he?
        Well, I do suppose, he's got lots of eyes, and those things swimming towards him, they are his spies. They swim through the world, peeking around, checking it out, peeking around without making a sound. They come back to report, tell him what they’ve seen, what they’ve heard, and where they’ve been. And then the monster eats them, eats them alive, taking in all that they were, though they struggle to survive. They wriggle and wiggle and yelp, and cry, just moments before they keel over and die. And then the monster, his belly full of information, stews and thinks, and performs a little divination, predicating how things will turn out, telling you what’s wrong without a doubt. 
         But then, I say, he takes it too far, like guessing how many jelly beans are stuck in a jar. It’s just a guess based on what his spies have seen, but we believe what he says, no matter how mean, or untrue it may be or unhelpful it is, maybe the monster should just mind his own biz!
But wait, maybe there’s wisdom in there yet. What if he could just see without saying a word, notice how things are without giving a blurb. Ahh, yes, that would do it, to see but not to say, and then without judgement, and without dismay, we can fix our mistakes and learn from them well, instead of cursing and swearing and starting to yell:
“I’m stupid! I suck! I’m no good at all! An artist? No! A writer? No – not at all!”
Ahh, yes, it’s the eyes of the monster that allow us to see, but his teeth, oh they give us such misery. So let his teeth go, let go of the sting and the bite, and then finally you’ll be able to write, at least the first draft, but then bring his teeth back, for they’ll be ready to have a snack, to chomp on your grammar, your spelling mistakes, and more – ah yes, I’ve got it – that’s what the monster is for!
And so, by golly, I think that I have finally made friends with the red-eyed multi-blob monster, oh yes, I can say that I have – no longer afraid of that voice in my head, the voice that tells me it's all wrong – in fact, it's that voice, in the end, that makes my writing solid and strong.