What a word, what a powerful word, but what do we mean by it, exactly? Part of the reason for running this tweet stream is to explore what we intend to say when we use the word ‘monster’ – it’s a word we use a lot; once you start looking for it, you suddenly hear it everywhere in all sorts of unusual contexts. For example, my wife pointed out a couple of days ago how often writers talk about their books as monsters they have made…
And here’s food for thought: the word can be traced back through old French meaning a malformed human or animal, through the Latin ‘monstrum‘ meaning divine omen, portent or sign from the root ‘monere’ meaning to warn or admonish, but ultimately it’s surmised to go all the way back to a Proto-Indo-European root ‘*men-‘ And what this word meant is this: to think. That’s how deeply monsters are engrained in us; they are our thoughts. And if they are our thoughts, then surely we must be responsible (in two senses) for the monsters we create.
The full collection of 100 monsters will appear below, with one added each weekday until September 6th.
While most of the collection are genuinely monstrous creatures from mythology and literature in general, some are people who might have seemed to have been monstrous, but were in fact real people who just took on an external form that in some way appeared so.
Generally I’m going to tend to steer clear of people as ‘monsters’ – it’s not an idea I like to subscribe to, but there may be exceptions to this rule. But there will definitely be some ‘real’ monsters – just to keep the cryptozoologists happy.