I found myself in a funk this past week. It was the kind of week where I found no joy in the things I normally would—my books, my favorite shows, my blog, and hobbies—nothing held my attention. Hiding under the covers from the outside world seemed like the best option; and indeed, aside from my daily trek to work, I achieved this quite well.
During these sometimes bouts of the blahs, I find it helpful to return to the familiar, to remember why and from where my loves began. Books have long been a constant in my life. Growing up overseas, unspoiled by television and Disney movies, books were my escape and my passion. By grade six, I’d read most of the classics from Aesop to Shakespeare, Grimm to Dickens, Tolkien to L’Engle. Despite the scope and variety of my tastes, it was to Lewis Carroll’s tale of Alice to which I always returned.
Yearly, I reread Alice in Wonderland, always finding something new. As I have grown, so has the tale grown with me. In weeks like the one I’ve just had, I feel like Alice falling down a rabbit hole feeling as though there is no end to the descent. There were moments at work this week that made me feel as though the Red Queen were chasing after me screaming, “off with her head!” And just when I thought the insanity was over, it became clear, as the Cheshire Cat warned, “we’re all mad here.”
Alice’s adventures in Wonderland and through the looking glass introduced me to fantastical worlds full of whimsy and danger. As a child, I was caught up in the fun of it all. As an adult, the book has become allegorical, a metaphor for events in my life. Alice is familiar to me, someone who has gone through a series of weird and wonderful events and who has come out stronger as a result. At the same time, Alice never loses her sense of curiosity, she seeks constantly to understand and to discover—in this sense, she is a lifelong learner.
Whether I’m diving in to reread the entire book or just stopping by to puruse my favorite chapters, Alice is always there for me. Travelling through Wonderland with Alice helps me escape my funk and reminds me of the beauty of being lost in a book.