Monday, March 8, 2010
Alice in Movieland
That's what Starter Husband's friends called me in college. I'm not sure if it was because I was studying filmmaking or my flair for the dramatic. Either way I never took offense to the nickname even when it was said in disdain. Being compared to Lewis Carroll's heroine could never be misconstrued as an insult to me. Like Carroll's Alice I had quite the imagination and always seemed older than my years. I was always polite and well mannered but would often say what was on my mind usually upsetting those around me, I suppose I am still like that. Also, like Alice I have always been put off by rudeness and bad manners.
Carroll's description of Alice:
What wert thou, dream-Alice, in thy foster-father's eyes? How shall he picture thee? Loving, first, loving and gentle: loving as a dog (forgive the prosaic simile, but I know no earthly love so pure and perfect), and gentle as a fawn: then courteous--courteous to all, high or low, grand or grotesque, King or Caterpillar, even as though she were herself a King's daughter, and her clothing of wrought gold: then trustful, ready to accept the wildest impossibilities with all that utter trust that only dreamers know; and lastly, curious--wildly curious, and with the eager enjoyment of Life that comes only in the happy hours of childhood, when all is new and fair, and when Sin and Sorrow are but names--empty words signifying nothing!
There are so many incarnations of Lewis Carroll's Alice series (Lewis Carroll is actually a pseudonym, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson is the author's real name), the Disney version combined "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" and left out many of the books characters. I actually get them all confused and will be going out tomorrow to reread these classic tales. Tim Burton's version, which D, K and I saw this past weekend (OMG I loved it!) combines a lot of Carroll's work into his version of the stories. I can't wait to go back and read these as an adult. I was a very early reader and probably had no idea what the books meant when I read them. When I went back to them in college they seemed kind of trippy, especially after listening to my English Lit professor go on and on about Carroll, who was made out to be a drug addicted pedophile writing his acid trips. These books were too cleverly written to be blamed on drugs, clearly my professor was not clever enough figure this out, besides LSD wasn't invented during Carroll's time. Why is it that when something is clever and creative it's blamed on drugs? Sorry, off point, as usual.
I'm glad that Alice is back in my life, she seems to have been with me in some form or another my whole life. As a child "Alice in Wonderland" was one of my favorite movies, second only to "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory" (I HATED Burton's version of this BTW and was worried when he remade my other fave). I remember reading the books and poems as I got a little older (maybe 10 or 11), not quite grasping the meaning of any of it but thoroughly enjoying the writing. Confused and inspired by the logic in the writing it fed my young inquisitive mind, and I knew that even at a young age whatever interpretation I took away couldn't possibly be wrong. Carroll, along with Willy Wonka's creator Roald Dahl, were both speaking to me. Both writing specifically for me, they gave me a place to escape and explore, and for that I will always be grateful to both of them. In college I took on Alice's quest as well as her strong will, earning and living up to my nickname. Fourteen years ago I moved to Los Angeles from New York, and while it wasn't exactly falling down a rabbit hole it was a strange journey. I didn't meet a white rabbit, smoking caterpillar or Cheshire cat but I did amass a collection of friends that are just as wonderful and interesting. I met and married a King of hearts who saves my own head daily. I've also been able to grow and shrink like Alice, except my growth has been spiritual and emotional, and the shrinking part of me: my anger and fear.
So welcome back to my life Alice! I can't wait to dive into the pages with my childhood hero and learn all the lessons I was far too young to understand the first time.
Impenetrability, that's what I say!