Wednesday, August 21

The Monster at the End of this Book: An Epiphany

Yesterday I mentioned my new outlook on life. Today I'm going to discuss what brought about that change.

For a few months now I've been in a bit of a rut creatively. I'm just not motivated. I will always find a reason not to write. Luckily (or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look at it), I have many valid excuses: my arms hurt, I miss Canada / my family / my friends, my arms hurt (because, really, it's a huge one for me), or I'm stressed out about _____ (you fill in the blank, I'm sure I've used it at some point).

And then one conversation changed everything.

I was talking to my mum about my lack of writing (something I do far too often, I'm afraid), when she mentioned one of my favorite books from childhood: THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK starring LOVABLE, FURRY OLD GROVER by Jon Stone. At first, I had no idea what she was getting at. How was a Sesame Street book relevant to my life as an adult? I asked her what she meant, but she was surprisingly tight-lipped about the entire thing. She told me to find it and read it for myself. So of course, I did. What I learned shocked and embarrassed me.

For anyone who hasn't read the book, you should, but for the point of this post I will give you a brief overview. Grover is terrified to learn that there is a monster at the end of the book, so he begs the reader to stop turning pages. When the reader keeps going, he comes up with entertaining obstacles to keep them from reading any more. When the last page finally arrives, however, Grover learns that the monster at the end of the book is Grover himself.

Adorable, huh? I thought so. I loved it as a child, and not much as changed in the years since then.

Of course, my mum's point is crystal clear to me now, so much so that that I carry around the book in my writing portfolio as a reminder. This lesson was one I desperately needed to learn: 

The only monster at the end of the book is you.

The message hit home for me, in more ways than one. I'm my own worst enemy. I always knew this, but a Sesame book made it click. I can say my inner editor is an evil, conniving bitch, but in the end I'm my inner editor. By making it sound like someone else, I push the responsibility away from myself. In reality, it's all on me and always has been. I'm the only one stopping myself from finishing. I'm the monster throughout the book, not just at the end. It's time for me to own up to my mistakes and push past the obstacles I've placed in my way. If I don't, I'll never succeed.

Please Note: The title of this post could also read: "Mother's Are Always Right" and "Children's Books Are Still Relevant at Age Twenty-Three"


  1. It's a great lesson to learn no matter how you learn it. And yes, mothers are always right. (Except for those rare occasions when we are mistaken.) ;o)

  2. This really resonated with me. I also like to point to external stuff and blame it when I'm not producing, when in truth it's me that's the issue. When I consistently work on a story it gets written, even if I only have small pockets of time.

    I ended up picking up once again Steven Pressfield's book The War of Art, which has lots of encouragement (and plenty of tough love) to help with pursuing a creative dream. I highly recommend it!

  3. Excellent lesson, Natalie - one I need to heed for I do the same thing.

    Thanks, Laurel, I plan on looking up the book you referenced :)

  4. Beth-- Yep, I agree. It is pretty awesome to learn from a children's book, though ;)

    LOL my mum will likely disagree with you. Mother's are NEVER mistaken ;)

  5. Laurel-- I'm glad it resonated with you so much! I shall definitely check it out at B&N this weekend. Thank you so much for the recommendation. If you haven't read THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK... well, you should ;) Mine isn't as sophisticated as yours, but it gets the point across in less than 15 pages, LOL.

  6. Janet-- Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. =)

  7. Excellent post, Nat! This was a lesson I needed to read and learn today. Your mum is a wise woman, you are an inspiration, and Sesame Street characters rock!

  8. Jen-- Thank you, hun! I thought you'd like it =) Haha, my mum will will glad to hear that ;) Aww, thank you! I try *winks*


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