I occasionally volunteer at the Ministry of Stories, a creative writing centre for kids in Hoxton. Over the past few weeks pupils at Mossbourne Community Academy have been thinking about what makes a monster and how that is determined by our expectations and experiences of literature, film and TV. What are each monster's likes, dislikes, hopes and fears? How would you describe their personality? The end goal of this project is to produce a series of short filmed monologues, written by the kids and performed by trained actors.
We have looked at classic examples: the werewolf, the vampire, the zombie, the Siren, Medusa… We have also watched clips from Monty Python and Monsters Inc, among others, to demonstrate how funny it can be to subvert the traits of these monsters. To add an element of surprise.
The kids are eager to put pen to paper and one exercise that caught their imagination was writing a letter to agony aunt and full-time banshee Imelda Monstrozer. It was a great way to get into character and put into practice some of the ideas we had discussed. Ministry mentors try to be quite hands off during these sessions unless the pupil is struggling or looking confused. So instead of waiting anxiously to be wowed I decided to have a go myself for five minutes. Obviously the kids will do much better.
I am so bored of necking blood all night and sleeping all day. Surely there's more to life than this? What about hitting the beach or going on holiday with my mates? Oh wait… I don't have any mates. Not real ones, anyway. They're all scared that I'm gonna suck the life out of them. Either that or they only want to know me for what I can give them. Killer cocktails, coffin tips, eternal life… What's the answer?
They say variety is the spice of life. I'd like to know what avocado and poached eggs on toast taste like. Crispy aubergine, Japanese style. Salt-baked beetroot with cobnuts and damson, why not? Perhaps there's a monster resort or health farm I could go to? Get a little colour back in my skin, you know. A makeover. A new wardrobe while I'm at it. Find the new me. I know that sounds deep but I'm not your average bloodthirsty creature with a one-track mind. I'm meant for greater things.
Incidentally, the Ministry of Stories is looking for filmmakers to shoot these monologues. If you can help please get in touch here.