Recent Work By Laura van den Berg

Some people dream of being chased by Bigfoot. I found it hard to believe at first, but it’s true. I was driving back from Los Angeles in August, after a summer of waiting tables and failed casting calls, when I saw a huge wooden arrow that pointed down a dirt road, “actors wanted” painted across it in white letters. I was in Northern California and still a long way from Washington, but I followed the sign down the road and parked in front of a silver airstream trailer. It was dark inside and I felt the breeze of a fan. The fat man behind the desk said he’d never hired a woman before. And then he went on to describe exactly what happens at the Bigfoot Recreation Park. People come here to have an encounter with Bigfoot. Most of their customers have been wanting this moment for years. I would have to lumber and roar with convincing masculinity. I can do that, I said, no problem. And I proved it in my audition. After putting on the costume and staggering around the trailer for a few minutes, bellowing and shaking my arms, I stopped and removed the Bigfoot mask. The fat man was smiling. He said I would always be paid in cash.

Why do you like to write about monsters so much?

I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me this question so I can better understand my monster fixation myself. With the new film adaptation, I’ve been thinking a lot about Where The Wild Things Are, which was one of my most beloved books as a child. I loved the feelings of magic and fear that it evoked in me and I was also enamored with the idea of these creatures spiriting Max away to a different kind of world—a desire that is often found in the characters that populate What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us.