I didn’t read (I’m talking read here, not look at pictures) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland until sophomore year of college. I started writing a story, spontaneously, called Absolutely Mad and knowing my childhood reluctance against the franchise, I figured it would be a good time to pip into the children’s section of the college library and check out the books. For research purposes, you understand.
Enchanting. I know that Carroll wrote the stories as a series of adventures to entertain the young Alice Liddell, and therefore, no definitive plot can be found… but I think the plotlessness just as enchanting as the strange and curious stories inside. I read both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass in the matter of a day, and my imagination was overflowing. I sought more.
Previously ignorant, I was not aware of the expanse of the Alice franchise. It turns out that beyond the Disney animated feature (which, for those who are curious, Walt Disney himself was incredibly disappointed in), there are a gazillion movies and games and other inspired products. Many hearts and imaginations have been captured by the little girl who falls into a make believe world and embarks in a series of misadventures. One of my personal favorites was a made-for-television version starring both Martin Short and Whoopie Goldberg. Curiouser and curiouser!
Then, later that year, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland came out.
You either liked it or hated it. I chose to look past Burton’s flaunting of his two favorite actors – Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter – and focus on the fact that he had created a new, beautiful world for Alice, and quite frankly, I thought the actress who played her was delightful. Imagination inspired again!
After that, there was the SyFy miniseries Alice that not only continued my love of the franchise (and brought in new and different aspects that many of the other cinematic attempts had chosen to ignore… I guess that’s the perks of a miniseries!) but inspired me to watch Primeval, because lets face it, how can you not absolutely fall in love with Andrew-Lee Potts? By the time I discovered the miniseries, everyone who was friends with me on Facebook was getting tired of hearing about That Amazing and Wondrous Thing That is Alice in Wonderland and probably hoping I would become obsessed with something normal… like the Twilight Series (never gonna happen).
By this time, I had already abandoned the story Absolutely Mad. I was stuck at 15,000 words and knew that I’d have to start fresh because I had written myself into a corner. So I could do that. OR.
It turns out there is a somewhat fabulous Alice in Wonderland-themed computer game. Two, actually, but I haven’t played the original. Alice: Madness Returns is the long-awaited sequel of American McGee’s Alice and features the heroine in a dark and dangerous place. She lives at an orphanage where a peculiar doctor is trying to help her break through to her memories, or forget… Madness is dark, action-filled, graphically stunning, and mentally engaging. It is still my favorite video game to date.
As I got older and got a Real Job and Apartment and Husband, you’d think I’d grow out of this children’s story, but… I couldn’t shake it.
For my self-proclaimed last-ever NaNoWriMo attempt, I picked up my scribbles of Absolutely Mad and started it again from the beginning. I created an original character, who was pushed into Wonderland by a deranged Cheshire Cat and had to make strange friends and allies to ultimately defeat the maddened Alice, locked away by Time (this was before the horrible Disney sequel, Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass, bah) for the safety of all Wonderland. Yvette Hatter must do this as her first step to escape Wonderland and go home.
With that out of the way, I still continue to be enamored by Alice in Wonderland. I collect Alice in Wonderland Disney pins. My favorite tea mug says “Wouldn’t it be nice if everything made sense for a change?”… and I’ve been prone to saying “Curiouser and curiouser…” as I’m problem-solving. I even have a Christmas ornament with her stuck in the Drink Me bottle.
So, I think in short… I have this thing about the Alice in Wonderland franchise. Basically, I think it is brilliant. The idea of escaping through “betweens” to a magical world is enough to tickle a reader’s imagination, and that is why Lewis Carroll’s books have become literary classics.
What classic story continues to capture your time, passion, and imagination… even as an adult?