Spoiler Alert: Plot Poem
Alice down the rabbit hole [quite litrally, we mean]
Too tall, too small; rinse, repeat. Is this all a dream?
Cries her way to Wonderland with wild menagerie.
A caucus race is thus begun; the winner is... EVERYONE!
MaryAnn the rabbit messenger hunts for gloves and fan
Curious Alice drinks mystery drink just because she can.
Off she grows to such great heights, stymied one again
Arms in the window, lizard in the chimney; Bill's not feeling too zen.
Hookah-smoking caterpillar with mushroom domicile
Quizzles existentially, he brooks no denial.
Fish footmen for duchesses, pepper, babies, and pigs
Meetings with the Cheshire Cat; an airy grin he rigs.
Tea with a Hatter, humor a Dormouse, six the clock will chime
Riddles and rudeness, twinkles and treacle, buttering away the time.
Flamingo mallets and hedgehog balls, a game of queer croquet
Tempestuous duchess, a hotheaded Queen, "off with her head!" she'll say!
Mock turtle songs and lobster quadrilles, jury's out - who stole the tarts?
Important evidence (of nothing) is given to please the Queen of Hearts.
Larger, now, the girl awakes to think on Wonderland
Real or imagined, dreamed or not, it was most awfully grand.
Spoiler Over: Continue Here
Did you like my rhyming? Alice connoisseurs may have noticed I omitted the Looking-Glass from my plot poem. If I'm being honest, I preferred the first volume by a teensy bit, and I also got tired of rhyming. ;)
If you have not read these little works, find a copy and devour them. They're bite-sized, and marvelous! Ostensibly they're children's books, but like all the best children's books, they're full of nuance for adults and witty puns and jokes no child would get. OK. Alice PSA Over!
If you're still reading (BECAUSE YOU ALREADY READ THEM, or because you ARE PLANNING TO REALLY SOON) (LIKE, TOMORROW, MAYBE) then please proceed.
I've decided to continue my new section, since this one had several...
Referents and Reverberations (I'll tell you a quote from this book, and I'll tell you a quote from another book from this blob that it reMinded me of. Sound like fun? Tbqh, I don't care what you think, the section is happening anyway. But #fingerscrossed you find it fun.)
"How queer everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I've changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? But if I'm not the same, the next question is, 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!"
"I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then."
Guesses, anyone? Hint: it's a Meredith FAVORITE, and an oft-referenced tome...
"So how, then, searching for our thoughts, our identities, as we search for lost objects, do we eventually recover our own self rather than any other? Why, when we regain consciousness, is it not an identity other than the one we had previously that is embodied in us? It is not clear what dictates the choice, or why, among the millions of human beings we might be, it is the being we were the day before that we unerringly grasp."
One MILLION pounds sterling to anyone who guessed PROUSTY-proust. What's that? OH, you want to be super-snooty and guess which VOLUME of Proust? OK, fine. Hint: there are seven.
I'm thinking of a number between one and seven.... it's... THREE! The Guermantes Way. (Which, if you're a true blob fan, you might remember I accidentally read BEFORE number two. An honest mistake! If you're a FRENCH speaker, you most probably guessed it when you saw the Picture.)
OK, moving on to the next Alice quote(s):
'He said he would come in,' the White Queen went on, 'because he was looking for a hippopotamus. Now, as it happened, there wasn't such a thing in the house, that morning.'
'Is there generally?' Alice asked in an astonished tone.
'Well, only on Thursdays,' said the Queen."
lolz. OBVIOUSLY only on Thursdays, silly! and then this nugget:
"Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Together, these reminded me of someone who also had a lot of thoughts involving breakfast...
"If I start thinking about something which didn't happen I start thinking about all the other things which didn't happen. For example, this morning for breakfast I had Ready Brek and some hot raspberry milk shake. But if I say that I actually had Shreddies and a mug of tea* I start thinking about Coco Pops and lemonade and porridge and Dr Pepper and how I wasn't eating my breakfast in Egypt and there wasn't a rhinoceros in the room and Father wasn't wearing a diving suit and so on..."
*But I wouldn't have Shreddies and tea because they are both brown.
So which was it, folks? A hippopotamus or a rhinoceros when you were eating breakfast? It IS Thursday, after all!
And for our last installment in this section, this quote from Alice:
'If that there King was to wake,' added Tweedledum, 'you'd go out - bang! - just like a candle!'
'I shouldn't!' Alice exclaimed indignantly. Besides, if I'm only a sort of thing in his dream, what are you, I should like to know?"
Which put me in mind of this quote:
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!"
I gave you a picture clue, so I'm not telling for this one. Look it up if you must! ;)
How are we feeling, readers? Do you need a stretch break? Why don't you do a little 'cat/cow', get your mail, or grab a cuppa, and then roll on back. Here's a silly photo to cleanse your neural palate:
Aren't cats simply the silliest creatures? Susan has taken to slumbering in my closet, because it has the lumpiest clothes. Onward we go!
A new section I've decided to call "Things which were simply a part of my growing-up vernacular, and which I only now realize are from Wonderland"
Jam tomorrow, jam yesterday, but never ever ever ever jam today. I really think I thought this was just a thing my mom said sometimes. I had completely forgotten that it was from Alice, and I'm not sure I knew there was a real song! Mom, were you quoting her?
stuffing the Dormouse into the teapot, and stories full of treacle
Alice - pudding: Pudding - Alice. now you've been properly introduced, so of course you can't EAT the pudding!
'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes - and ships - and sealing-wax -
Of cabbages - and kings -
And why the sea is boiling hot -
And whether pigs have wings.'
And now for some random thoughts...
Wit and Wordplay
Carroll/Dodgson has the MOST fun with the English language in these books. I don't know if I've ever read a book that took such pleasure in my native language, and it was truly a joyful experience. One of my favorite moments in the book is this one, which comes before the caucus race and when the animals (and Alice) are all sopping wet. The mouse jumps to the rescue:
'This is the driest thing I know.' "William the Conqueror, whose cause was favoured by the pope, was soon submitted to by the English..." lololololol. Get it. DRY? dry? (slaps knee and guffaws)
Who's your friend who likes to play?
Perhaps the only thing more fantastic than Carroll's delightful wordplay is his vivid imagination. One of my favorite creatures was the 'Snap-dragon-fly':
'Look on the branch above your head, and there you'll find a Snap-dragon-fly. Its body is made of plum-pudding, its wings of holly-leaves, and its head is a raisin burning in brandy.'
'And what does it live on?' Alice asked.
'Frumenty and mince-pie,' the Gnat replied: 'and it makes its nest in a Christmas-box.'
It reminded me of BING BONG from Inside Out! (see video for more on Bong, Bing)
Tick tock, tick tock, Hook's afraid of an old dead clock...
Time is a frequent topic of discussion in the books, and there's even one section that had a pretty trippy 'Arrival'-style discussion of the future happening in the present and such. Here's my other favorite time-related quip:
The Mad Hatter: 'I dare say you never even spoke of Time!'
'Perhaps not,' Alice cautiously replied; 'but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.'
'Ah! That accounts for it,' said the Hatter. 'He won't stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he'd do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o'clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you'd only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!" are you on good terms with Time, blobbists? What time would you make it, if you could?
What are you, after all?
Many of the creatures Alice encounters ask her what she is, and she is accused of being a great many other things (my favorite of which is a serpent). One creature asks her:
'Are you a child or a teetotum?' and if, at this moment, you are thinking to yourself, WHAT, praytell, is a teetotum, and/or did Monsieur Carroll make that up?
THIS (see left) is a teetotum. It is apparently a top. Not necessarily twelve-sided, though this one is, but generally containing some sort of numbered sides to determine a winner.
Please let me know if you knew this word and I will give you BONUS POINTS ON THE NEXT QUIZ.
This exchange reminded me of one of my favorite moments in the movie 'Stranger Than Fiction', when Dustin Hoffman says, "Aren't you relieved to know you're not a golem?"
And if you are NOW wondering what a golem is,
"In Jewish folklore, a golem (/ˈɡoʊləm/ GOH-ləm; Hebrew: גולם) is an animated anthropomorphic being that is magically created entirely from inanimate matter (specifically clay or mud)."
OK everyone. Time for that POP QUIZ! (No, I didn't forget that you Might have gotten bonus points for knowing teetotum!)
'Are you to get in at all?' said the Footman. 'That's the first question, you know.'"
'It's my opinion that you never think at all,' the Rose said, in a rather severe tone."
'I do.' Alice hastily replied; 'at least - at least I mean what I say - that's the same thing, you know.'
'Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. 'Why, you might just as well say that 'I see what I eat' is the same thing as 'I eat what I see'!'
'Really, now you ask me,' said Alice, very much confused, 'I don't think--"
'Then you shouldn't talk,' said the Hatter.'
'I can't help it,' said Alice very meekly: 'I'm growing.'
'You've no right to grow here,' said the Dormouse.
'Don't talk nonsense,' said Alice more boldly: you know you're growing too.'
'Yes, but I grow at a reasonable pace,' said the Dormouse: 'not in that ridiculous fashion."
- As sure as ferrets are ferrets. so many possible uses!
- Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you're at! that's the Suzuki song, right?!
- I'm doubtful about the temper of your flamingo. I'm gonna start saying this to everyone.
- 'I shouldn't know you again if we did meet, you're so exactly like other people.' this seems like a great option after a failed first date, or perhaps to an ex, upon conscious uncoupling.
- You might as well try to catch a Bandersnatch! a possible alternative to 'Who is John Galt?'
I will leave you with my three favorite quotes.
Enjoy your late summer evening, watch the temper of your flamingo, clap back when you can, and only eat jam TOMORROW and YESTERDAY. Have fun among the mad people, from one mad person (and one mad cat) to another.