Trip trap trip trap, as Billy Goat Gruff trots across the bridge seeking pastures new.
Warts, excess facial hair and cheeks that bulge at differing heights around a soft fleshy bulbous nose.
What image does that evoke for you I wonder?
Faceless, anonymous, low life creatures that sleep all day and emerge at night to send 1 star reviews of books they’ve not even read?
How strange that at this late stage of my life I find myself reflecting upon trolls. When I first heard of the trolls of the publishing world my immediate reaction was to run for the hills thinking I will never be strong enough to take up defence against such mindless, vicious puerile attacks. I confess it is still a worry as I wrest my way back into the Writer’s world.
Yet it is trolls I face in life. My childhood images are clear and lucid and I realise how much my formative years were influenced by a deep fear of trolls. My memory banks easily provide a very clear recollection of that childhood phenomena of a recurring dream, and yes, my dream featured trolls. So it is understandable I feel that life today is tainted by trolls’ poison. I think we all need a mental, visual scapegoat or image on which to hang the bad stuff and for me it has always been trolls.
I often wonder what conclusions would be drawn from this idiosyncrasy. Clearly my early childhood experience of a recurring dream would be deemed relevant. I was on a 281 bus with one of my siblings and we were arguing. It culminated in my leaving the bus whilst it was travelling along the A3 (main 3 lane highway) in Tolworth. We are talking about the olden day double-decker bus with an open entrance and a convenient pole to swing off!
Once successfully off the bus and back on my feet it was imperative that I reach the safe haven of my home as fast as possible but the way forward is lined with the prone sleeping bodies of trolls with no perceivable gaps and not a glimmer of pavement between them. There was no option I had to run across their snoring and clearly sleeping bodies. Inevitably as I stepped on each fearsome form they woke uttering guttural, unintelligible sounds of anger and retribution. Perhaps a psychiatrist would enjoy analysing my adult associations of bad things or spiteful people!
Back to today and a quick trip down Wikipedia offers me a wealth of history and stories about the Norse phenomena of the troll, interestingly it confirms that whilst commonly associated with ugliness the troll can take the form of a normal human being at times? Hmmm.
The thesaurus suggests elf, sprite, imp, gnome, hobgoblin, tyrant (now you’re getting closer), monster, giant, and ogre. Giant tyrannical monster ogre, yep that covers it. An internet troll is someone who sows discord on the internet by starting arguments or upsetting people by posting inflammatory comments to create discord, often simply for their own amusement. Yep that fits.
The real point of my rambling is what do we do about trolls in our adult life?
Does the troll raise its club victorious or do I live to fight another day?
As I pick up my sword (pen), wield it aloft (write), this is the internal question I ask myself and once again my childhood fantasy of self-image as Boadicea returns and I conclude that I will outrun those sleeping trolls as I thunder across their prone bodies awakening each of them in turn. I survived the recurring dream for years, I can survive all the modern-day internet and other trolls sent my way today.
I say once more, to make it true, I am back.