Down the Rabbit Hole

Being a Tim Burton fanatic, I was ecstatic when he directed a new version of Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp as the Hatter (and some chick playing Alice. Personally, I think the Hatter is the best character. All the best people are mad).

After discussing the movie with a friend, it occurred to me: Alice is EVERYWHERE.

“Take the blue pill,” Morpheus says to Neo in The Matrix, “and the story ends. Take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and find out how deep this rabbit hole goes.”

Also in The Matrix, Neo is told to follow the white rabbit.

The title character in Coraline enters a different world through a door that’s been painted over.

Lucy Pevensie in the Narnia series enters a “Wonderland” type of world, ruled by an evil queen who stole the crown by force.

The novel, Go Ask Alice, alludes to the story on an adult level; “Wonderland” being a place spawned by hallucinogens.

The main character in the movie, Resident Evil, is named Alice and the antagonist in the film is the Red Queen.

The list goes on and on.

My question is: why? What is it about Alice’s story that makes it so tempting to retell.

It’s nonsense.

No. Really. It’s nonsense fiction. Its fun and absurd.

Take these lines from the Jabberwocky poem in Through the Looking Glass for example:

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead and with its head
Went galumphing back.

Three made up words in four lines.

That is the appeal, I think. It is so ridiculous and twisted and buried in a hodgepodge of allegoryand symbolism that it’s hard not to pick it apart and put it back together in a new way. It’s a puzzle with a thousand ways to put it together.

I challenge you to write your own Alice story. No its not an “official” challenge, but I know you can’t resist. Write horror? No problem. Comedy? Even easier. Come on. You know you wanna.

Let’s Talk About Sex

Those of you who’ve happened upon this post looking for something, well, dirty… Move along pervs. We’re talking books here.

My favorite cynic said, “Everything in life is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power.”

Its true. Or, at least, we perceive this statement to be true because of that incessant mind-fucker, Freud. In 1900, he published The Interpretations of Dreams, in which he tore open the human subconcious and showed us the ugly truth; everything, subconciously or not is about sex. Tall buildings? Male sexuality. Hills? Female sexuality. Stairs? Doing the nasty. Falling down stairs? Gatos…

What does this have to do with fiction? Everything. Thanks to Freud’s symbols, writers (like myself) who find it difficut and awkward to write full on moaning and pounding sex scenes can slather on the tension using just about anything other than sex. In this century, everything is a euphemism. Food, in my opinion, is used most often. Or rather, the act of eating food. To write sexual tension into a meal is to take what is probably the most boring act in the world of fiction an turn it into something that will make the reader sweat.

Say what?

Here’s an example:
In Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones (1749), the title character and a woman, Ms. Waters, sit down to a meal of fried chicken. B-O-R-I-N-G on the surface. But in the description of the meal, Fielding skillfully draws out the sucking, gnawing, groaning, and licking of bones and fingers that go into the consummation of the meal. Yes, I chose that word on purpose. Jones and Waters weren’t comsuming chicken; they were consuming each other – their desire for each other. Read it, and you’ll never eat KFC the same way again.

“Sex is about power.”

Consider the manatee. The female will remain in heat for a month. The male will spend the entire month smashing heads with other males as he tries to get to the female. The winning male (essentially the one with the hardest head) does the nasty with the female, then loses interest. Its a conquest. Winning the female equates power and dominance over the other males. Not unlike the human. Just saying.

Again, what does this have to do with fiction? Most sex scenes (Harlequin excluded. Ick.) have nothing to do, on a deeper level, with the physical act of getting down. Lets use a really sick example for this:

In Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, the fifteen year old protagonist rapes several girls (some prepubescent) throughout the book, referring to it as “the old in-and-out.” These rapes are narrated, straightforward, instert tab A into slot B sex scenes; but are told in such a way that the sexual particulars aren’t important. What is important is the nonchalance with which the protagonist approaches the acts – how normal the violence is. The sex isn’t about sex. Its about power, violence, and dominance. Its used as a tool to show how truly fucked up this character is.

So, to recap: Everything is sex. Sex isn’t sex. Frustrated aren’t you? Good. We writers love that. Happy Reading.

Title Post

Because I am a relentless follower of things that work, I gave in and did the one thing (well, one of many things) I said I would never do. I created a (dun, dun, duuuuuuuuh) blog. Granted, the “blog” is the creation of my generation, but I never thought I would see the benefit. Who gives a good (expletive deleted) damn what I have to say?

Apparently, a lot of people. Several of my writer friends (maybe all of them, for all I know) have blogs. They may not post regularly, but when they do, people read it. And comment. The vain narcissist in me loves comments. Even the bad ones.

Anyway, after reading these blogs and comments, and the subsequent blog posts and lessons that came as a result, I decided, “Holy buckets. These blog things work. Maybe I should get one of those.”

The result is the meager, but soon to be amazingly incredible blog in front of you. Beware, be open, but above all, be in posession of fresh underwear. You’re going to need them.