When I decided to do A to Z this year, it was months early, and I had no clear plan in sight—-I just knew that last year’s challenge was both a lot of fun and incredibly difficult. In 2014, my first time to join the challenge, I’d chosen Girl Characters in Children’s Literature as my theme. I was, at the time, studying for PhD comprehensive exams on girlhood and literature, so I used the chance to write some entries and construct ideas about how we write girlhood. In some ways, that was great; I was able to study, and the entries garnered a lot of good conversation during the month, but they tended to be long and essay-ish, time-consuming to research and write.
This year, I wanted to approach things differently. I’m no longer enrolled in the program that claimed so much of my time and energy, but I am doing a lot of other things in its stead. Little Jedi’s birthday is the first week of April; I started a new job in January and another job at the end of March; I took up a role on an A to Z Challenge team and committed to several guest-posts in the weeks after the challenge.
Still, I wanted a theme that would that still focus on girls/women and on pop culture. I decided on female monsters, something that would both work with the areas I wanted to highlight for the challenge and would allow me to talk about monsters. And this April, I’ve enjoyed talking about a lot of monsters, some who’ve frightened me for many years, some who are relatively new, and some whose monstrosity is up for debate. Lady Monsters tell us many things. Sometimes they whisper, and other times they shout. Sometimes they’re so beautiful that they’re terrible, and sometimes they’re just terrible.
I can’t remember the first monster I loved. I can’t remember the moment that the dark became a friend rather than something I was afraid of. I can’t remember the first horror movie I enjoyed. I suspect, though, that even if they weren’t the first monsters that I loved, Tolkien’s orcs and trolls and Gollum and Smaug were at least partly responsible for a life-long obsession with monsters. I also blame The X-Files, Star Wars, and Star Trek, seeing the shows when I was young and being pleasantly afraid of the tougher villains.
And I really want to keep talking about monsters. One thing that the month of April has convinced me of is that there’s a place for talking about female monsters, about monsters in general, here in the blogosphere. I’ve had the chance to have some great guest posters in the challenge, and I’ve got a group of people who are about to help me create Monster Mondays, a new weekly feature. Starting with this reflection, Mondays at Part Time Monster will now be devoted to discussing monsters in pop culture, especially female monsters.
Next Monday, we kick off the series with the first of a two-part series by Natacha Guyot on Black Widow. And in the coming weeks, look for guest posts from some fantastic bloggers, including Robin of Write On, Sisters!, Crystal of The Qwiet Muse, Melissa Barker-Simpson, Allison of Eclectic Alli, Urszula of Confessions of a Broccoli Addict and Alex Hurst. What an amazing group so far! And of course, those interested in guest posts are still welcome to contact me.
I hope you’ll join us!