Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mad as a Hatter

I love Alice in Wonderland, both the old and the newer "live-action" movies and the books by Lewis Carrol (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass). If I were going to trust anyone with Alice, it would definitely be Burton and Depp, and I have to say, Johnny made me love the Hatter even more than I already had. I guess I've always felt a kinship with Alice; we both escape our mundane lives to fictional places we've fabricated in our minds (does Alice really go to Wonderland or is it a dream?? Isn't the mystery part of the fun?!). I love the imagination that it took for Carroll to write Alice, and all the characters are so interesting and unique. It's one of my favorite books and I always imagined reading it to my kids when they were young and hoping that they'd fall in love with it too. It's one of the most quoted books and for good reason- not only is it fun and imaginative, but it's got a lot of heart and it has a lot of really good messages! As I was riding the ride at Disneyland last week (yeah, I still have to ride it every time), I was thinking about the brilliance of the book and everything I learned (and learn) from it. I thought I'd share my favorite quotes and what I learned from them.

1) “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Believe in impossible things. ALWAYS.

2) “She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).” Listen to the advice you give others and that you give yourself! Good advice doesn't do any good if it's ignored.

3) “I wonder if I've been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!” Figuring out who you really are is actually quite difficult and takes a lot of time and "soul searching", but it's worth it. At the end of the day, YOU have to live with YOURSELF forever. So make sure you know who that person is and like them!

4) “You used to be much more..."muchier." You've lost your muchness.” Don't let the world or circumstances of life take away your muchness!! Hold onto who you are and your dreams and don't ever let go! (Was that too dramatic? Good. [Insert Cheshire Cat smile here] )

5) Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?” This riddle has been picked over and torn apart probably more than any other riddle in history. Lewis Carroll intentionally left out the answer and the secret has been safely guarded ever since. He has never revealed his meaning, though the answer has been speculated about ever since it was published, but no one answer has been accepted. *My personal favorite: "Because Edgar Allan Poe wrote on both" :)
     Carroll even addresses the riddle again: 
             “Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
             “No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”
             “I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter”

I LOVE that. It taught me that not all mysteries are meant to be solved. Sometimes in life, you have to be okay with not knowing everything you want to know. Sometimes (if not most) you have to just go on faith.

6) “I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” As people, we are always changing and evolving (and sometimes un-evolving [yeah, I made that word up] ) so we shouldn't hold grudges against other people or ourselves for mistakes that have happened in the past. Part of being human is learning by making those mistakes, so give people and yourself a break!

7) “If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.” Isn't this so true!! It's easy to quickly get enveloped in things are are non of our business, but why do we do it? If we focused all the time and effort we spend worrying or talking about what other people do and put it into focusing on our own lives, we'd be a lot happier in life!

8) “Alice came to a fork in the road. 'Which road do I take?' she asked.
'Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat.
'I don't know,' Alice answered.
'Then,' said the Cat, 'it doesn't matter.” 

and...  “If you don't know where you are going any road can take you there”.  The Cheshire Cat is such a great character! And he's usually a voice of logic and truth. If we don't know what we want to do or where we want to end up, how are we supposed to get there? We can't progress towards a goal we haven't found yet, so it's important to figure it out, set the goals, and then set a plan of action on how to attain them. Without any goals in life, we're just wandering around aimlessly.

9) “I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy, my reality is just different from yours.” When we think other people are strange and judge them right away, just remember that they really aren't that much different from you- they just come from a different background. Things they do and say probably make complete sense to them and you're most likely just as strange to them as they are to you. Why can't we just embrace people, not despite of, but because of their differences!? If we were all the same, wouldn't it be BORING?

10)  “If you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison' it is certain to disagree with you sooner or later.” What a great lesson to learn! If only we could learn this without trial & error. If we continually do something that we know is wrong or bad for us, eventually it will come back to haunt us, even if it takes a while. Best to steer clear of those vices.

I've always written stories, ever since I was young. I loved to create different worlds in my imagination and the people I'd meet if I were there. Most of the time, I'm living in my own Wonderland inside my head, and I have to tell you, it's a wonderful place to be. I'd suggest we all create one of our own- somewhere we can pop into when real life get's too hard or complicated or boring. Some place full of adventure and fun. "...A place, like no place on earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger. [Where] some say, to survive it, you need to be as mad as a hatter." 

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