Since today is the movie premiere of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, I thought I’d blog about one of my all time favorite books and the effect it had on me.
Charles Ludwidge Dodgson, using the pen name Lewis Carroll, published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. I remember the storybook version sitting on my nightstand when I was a little girl, the cover showing Alice in her blue dress and white pinafore.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass are truly timeless. They are read and enjoyed by all ages, a feat accomplished by only one other author I can think of, J K Rowling and her Harry Potter series. I reread both of Carroll’s works this week, and let me tell you, I pick up something new each time I venture down the rabbit hole with Alice. Who wouldn’t want to go to a strange and beautiful world where anything is possible? The cast of characters in this two-book series includes odd people like the Mad Hatter and the Duchess, animals like the White Rabbit and Caterpillar, and oddball creatures like the Jabberwocky and talking flowers. Kings and Queens are living cards and chess pieces.
I wanted to go to Wonderland so badly when I a kid, I actually conjured up an imaginary friend named Alice. My mom had to hold both our hands when crossing the street, and I’m told I’d often yell “Watch out! You’re sitting on Alice!” in restaurants to people sitting near me. Alice stayed with me until I was about 5 or 6, and I blamed her leaving on my pesky little brother scaring her away. My grandmother has said on more than one occasion that she was surprised I didn’t name one of my daughters Alice, and she was being serious. 🙂
This early tale of wonder influenced the type of things I like to read as well as my writing. I love fiction full of twists and turns, packed with the unexpected. No wonder I’m such a fan of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, with their cool plots and weird characters, and the occasional monster they toss in for added fun. When I write, I try to make the story as unpredictable as possible, while still believable. I think about what would and could happen in a given scenario, then try to come up with a more exciting turn of events. My style is nothing like his, and my imagination not as great, but I see Lewis Carroll’s influence coming through my manuscripts in small doses.
One other thing you might not know about me, and I promise it’s true. I actually live in Wonderland. No kidding. Ten years ago my family and I started Wonderland Kennels, where we raise, train, and show our Boston Terriers and German Shepherds. We have other pets, including parrots, a bunny rabbit, and three pygmy goats. I call my SUV the Wondermobile. When I puppysit for a couple of my friends, they tell everybody their dogs are going to Camp Wonderland. One day I want to make a plaque to put in the entranceway that says ‘Welcome to Wonderland Manor’. I use the screen name ‘Tina In Wonderland’ on most message boards I visit.
If you’ve never read these masterpieces by Lewis Carroll, aka Charles Ludwidge Dodgeson, then I urge to pick up a copy at the library. Treat yourself to a wonderful story, or read it out loud to your kids. I don’t care if you’re 102 years old, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. You can see the influence the book had on me.