The Loch Ness Monster is my favorite monster.

Now that Lord of the Rings has swept the Oscars, it’s well and truly over. Until they make The Hobbit, but that’s another story. I feel now the same sadness that I feel at the conclusion of the books every time I read LOTR. There’s something enveloping about walking in the Tolkien’s world that I allow myself to get engrossed in when reading (and now watching Jackson’s films), and when I have to leave it to return to the mundanity of “real life,” there’s a definite sense of loss.

I have always enjoyed living in fantasy worlds. Dan and I have discussed how thoroughly I immerse myself in certain kinds of books and films and even TV shows. It defies genres: Harry Potter, Margaret Atwood, Val McDermid and That 70s Show equally have the ability to suck me in. I think it has something to do with how completely drawn their fictitious worlds are, as well as how well-rounded the characters. When I feel like I could carry on a conversation with a character, that’s when I know they’ve attained the level of fantasy from which I have a hard time walking away at the end.

Part of it, I know, stems from the fact that fantasy, for me, is not about escape, it’s about enrichment of my normal, boring life. I have long allowed myself to indulge in belief about extraterrestrials, paranormal activity, unicorns, and the Loch Ness Monster. As a kid, I amused myself on long car rides by just staring into the passing trees alongside the road and imagining what I might find back there if I got out of the car and explored. It was cool and scary and enthralling, and it kept me entertained for, well, hours.

I’ve had a hard time “growing up” and leaving all this fantasy behind. It’s not that I really believe that there are monsters under my bed still, but on the other hand, I can’t completely discount the possibility. I think that to convince yourself that there are no such things as extraterrestrials or the Loch Ness Monster means that you also have to give up on the possibility that there’s a unicorn in the forest. And who wants to give up on that?

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