Saturday 6 June 2020

'So You Want to Join The Hopeful Monsters Club?' by Emily Devane

We don’t let just anyone into the Hopeful Monsters Club. First, you have to be able to whistle through your teeth and bunch up your tongue like a concertina. It’s easy if you know how.

Snorers, and those with sleep disorders, are preferable. Hopeful Monsters must have bags beneath their sleep-deprived eyes. Caffeine dependency is usual, though not a deal breaker.

The majority of us were never able to crawl. We were the bum shufflers, the delayed swimmers, the ones with the stabilisers on our bikes for longer than was socially acceptable.

We know each other by a way of looking, a way of speaking into our shoulders, the words coming out rinsed and tangled like oddly coupled socks from the wash.

You probably won’t hear us but you will understand us by our bodies, which do the talking for us, coming nearer than you’d like or staying folded and small, depending on whether we like you or the manner of your approach.

Do not attempt to look us in the eye. We have an alarming habit of melting under stress, our physical selves reduced to sticky pools that gum up the soles of your shoes. Awkward though these meltdowns may be, try not to step on us.

Never cover us with newspaper in your attempt to blot us out. News, we have discovered through painful experience, gets beneath our skin. Notions become so embedded that they seep into our days and nights, threatening to swallow us whole. Just last week, one of us was consumed by freedom, while another has never recovered from intolerance. With that in mind, please leave us be. In time, we may return, our eyes a little shadowy in their sockets but otherwise intact.

Don’t attempt to join our club with ill intentions. We do not accept bribes. Hopeful Monsters are scrupulous sorts and if you cannot bunch up your tongue, that’s not our fault.

We have produced a leaflet with a few suggestions, basic exercises, motivational quotes, that sort of thing. It’ll fix your hope deficiency, if nothing else. We don’t let just anyone into the Hopeful Monsters Club. With a little work, you might just make the grade.

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