“Alice started to her feet…[and] ran across the field after [the White Rabbit]…just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge. In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.” ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Just call me Alice.
And I have a hunch since you are here reading this, I should call you Alice too. I assume you plucked this off the shelf after you entered the rabbit hole and were free falling with many dazzling and shiny trinkets grabbing your attention.
As with our foremother Alice, the grand adventure began once she fell down that rabbit hole. In the original context, Alice’s fall wasn’t quick or abrupt. It took her quite a long time – long enough to take note of the various objects surrounding her, reach for some food in passing, muse over various tangential subjects and even begin to doze off.
Sounds a lot like the experience with the content in books and the process of putting thoughts to paper – or any artistic ? for that matter. Reading and writing become an experience.
Chasing after something that catches our attention, we wind up fully immersed in ……. Eventually, the original Alice wound up in an unfamiliar world, a disorienting alternate reality. For us Alices, the rabbit hole isn’t just the means to an end, it’s the end itself as well. It’s both. It can be either. It might at times be neither.
“Alice: This is impossible.
The Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is.”
When writing, the journey begins at the first moment the chase of that elusive idea begins. I never quite know where it will take me. Sometimes I spend a lot more time than I anticipated or realized just researching…. going from topic to topic at whim, distracted or with purpose until I land in a completely different place than where I intended. Sometimes, it is just an exercise of collecting odd things along the way to use later or craft into a story at another time. Other times it sparks my creativity and inspires me in a flurry of ideas and thoughts that is almost impossible to put all into any form of sense or cohesive plan.
When I am reading I am at the whim of another’s fantastical adventure. Stumbling into a bizarre, remarkable land someone else designed. I often find it very difficult to pull myself out of these worlds, and when I finally do, I usually feel dazed —having just lived the life of a thousand souls across unimaginable tales. If it’s exceptionally good, I’ll spend the next few days reliving moments, re-creating scenes and trying desperately to wrap my fingers and brain around the remnants that linger to keep it alive and breathing in my own life.
The rabbit holes of books and writing deepen my world, grow my imagination, expand my knowledge and remind me that all things are possible. They give me hope, pleasure, allow me to experience wonder and even seem necessary in order for me to thrive in my day to day life…….I dare to assume you feel the same way, Alice.
Huh. Imagine that. Rabbit holes, reading, and writing are what breed an enriched life for us. Things really do just continue to get “curiouser and curiouser”.