I’ve been living in apartments for too long. I have to reach back to my childhood for images of an attic. Attics are landscapes rich with potential for monsters — and monstrous revelations. I’ve always imagined discovering a secret diary in an old trunk.
A diary? Yes, but not the musings of a teenaged girl from an era before computers when some girls kept little pink books secured with locks any determined 10-year-old sibling could pick. The diary of my imagination is the journal of a mad scientist’s investigations into the unknown or a monster’s day-to-day log of his human-sized dinners. Think Mr. Hyde meets Dr. Frankenstein with a dash of Hannibal Lecter.
Now THAT would be a diary worth stumbling upon in an attic.
It’s also a classic form for a novel — epistolary novels comprised of diary entries, letters and similar documents— were very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Both Mary Shelley in her original Frankenstein novel and Bram Stoker’s Dracula employ this form.
I’m working on the final draft of my second Candy’s Monster — Bram Stoker’s Summer Sublet — and it’s a contemporary epistolary novel. So maybe that’s why I’m so obsessed with the idea of stumbling upon a mysterious journal and delving into the personal confessions of a monster.
Maybe I should start haunting flea markets, looking for trunks that might hold an abandoned journal? It’s not like there’s anything hidden in my apartment.
Or is there?
Maybe I should start tapping the kitchen cabinets, looking for a false wall and a secret compartment? Perhaps city life is not devoid of ‘attic-like’ treasures?