Monday, October 19, 2015

Currently Reading 10.19.15



"Whooooooo, are yooooooou?" Said the Caterpillar.
"I can't explain myself I'm afraid, sir, because, I'm not myself."
                                                            Alice's Adventures in Wonderland--Lewis Carroll

It would come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that I was born a dreamer. I spent as much time inside my own mind as I did anywhere else on this earth. In my childhood, I was even more awkward and peculiar a person as I am now--if that is even possible--and so I devised in myself a land where friends were plentiful, and so was magic.

I became quite the prolific reader as soon as I could piece together the symbols on the page into words and warriors, warlocks and Wonderlands. My grandmother would walk with me weekly to our local library to stock up on all that made my society in my formative years. Apart from my siblings, my best--and only--friends were those dreamed-up creatures and characters of Carroll, Keene, Silverstein, Lewis, Cleary, and Dahl. I lived for L Frank Baum, and Perrault. The mysterious and macabre were infinitely alluring to my nascent mind. After all, I was brought up on stories of creation that made each bit of the supernatural as true to me as my own heart.

If the world could come from thought or dust, or the stars in the sky, how unusual is a cat who smiles, or monkeys that fly, or satyrs working for queens of snow?

But my favorite--my favorite--was Alice.

So much so that my four year old daughter was very nearly named Alice.

I saw myself so much in Alice. In that girl apart, arrogant, and afraid. She had all the fanciful thoughts I thought myself, and never apologized for them--and always apologized for them. She relished in her fancy. Her imagination stuck to the pages like confits on a child's hands. It was as if Carroll, one hundred and twenty years before my birth, carved out a little echo in the ether, waiting for one just such as me to fill it as Alice filled a world with her tears.

I remember imagining that Lewis Carroll somehow knew me, and wrote the book for me, and not Alice Liddell. That he was so captivated by the imagination that my small school so desperately wished to suppress, that he conjured a realm of the extraordinary simply to showcase my spirit. I dreamed of what it must be like to grow, shrink, and escape. I longed to see a white rabbit in a waistcoat, and attend a strange man's tea party. I'd paint roses--not, I'd talk to insects--or not, and I'd most certainly tell Tweedledee and Tweedledum where to stick it.

Every mirror, every hole, and every page was a key to a new world in which I could sate my mental wanderlust for just long enough to fight it back until I found my own Tumtum tree.

--C

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