Project Protagonist: Into the Woods

I’ve written about the woods near my house, but if I’ve written about the Forest before, I can’t find it. The two do blur together a bit in memory, since the first places I learned to cross into the Otherworlds were in the woods. I went a couple hundred feet back from the road and stepped just right in between a few particular trees and…

It was Where The Wild Things Are, and now it’s just the Forest, the archetypal dark and ancient wood where you get lost in fairy tales. I always felt more akin to the monsters than the lost little children anyway, but I learned the rules. It’s related to the Iron Woods, or at least I’ve made my way to Angrboda through it. I don’t run across many people who talk about visiting the Woods, though.

I’m sure it’s not surprising that I’m thinking about this now, being hip-deep in monsters and childhood archetypes. Grover may be my fetch, but I myself am Max, and I’ve always gone back to the woods. The answer to the question of what I so next lies in that.

I have always been a monster. Since before I knew that was a bad thing, really. And this project is about reclaiming what I’ve always been. It’s only that I internalized that being a monster is bad. I believed them when they said my brain doesn’t work “correctly” and I need to imitate normal even if I’ll never be it. I believed my parents that I needed to act normal, even as I called myself a changeling.

I have spent too long in the City, and in the Forest, and I have gone strange. The Forest is for running wild, claws out, violence given expression instead of seething under the surface. The Forest is where you don’t have to pretend to be civilized. If you do not go in as predator, you go in as prey, so I recommend you think carefully before going if you want to go.

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