Thursday, January 3, 2019

Gardens of Good and Evil: Part 3 - Alice in Wonderland

Image altered from
Welcome back. See part 1 and part 2 of this series here.

I don’t consider myself to be obsessive even with things I geek-out over. However, my love for all things Batman, Winnie the Pooh, Betty Boop, and Gardens does sometimes border on the line of obsessive. I mean, I have an entire Pinterest Board dedicated to images of gardens. The crazy thing is, I’m highly allergic to nature; still, I’ve never let that stop me from adoring it. I guess that’s why I’ve always been drawn to stories featuring gardens, whether magical or malevolent. I like being able to have the garden experience without all the sneezing and watery eyes. And, of course, I’ve found ways to sneak nature and gardens into my own writing. In this series, I’ll be writing about some of the most influential or creative stories featuring gardens that I’ve come across.

Today I’ll be talking about a beloved children’s story that has spawned many reimaginings, films, and more. For me, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol is all about looking at things in different ways.
Stories like Alice in Wonderland are important to the development of thriving societies. Really, I’m not joking. These are the kinds of stories that reach children at a young age and teach them how to look at things differently, or even better, see beyond the surface (stereotypes) and see things and people for what they really are- special and unique.

To me, reading Alice in Wonderland was an incognito way of learning problem-solving skills. Alice goes through a lot in that story, and even though a lot of it is silly nonsense, Alice quickly learns to be on her guard and not expect everything to be as it was back in her world. I think it’s a story about travel and how to do it well. A well-traveled person appreciates their home but thrives in other lands, making friends through respect and the application of flexible "street smarts".

Gardens in this story represent gateways and opportunity. Alice finds the White Rabbit in a garden and later shrinks herself to enter another garden because she recognizes that that’s the best way for her to get where and what she wants most of all. I’m actually working on a story, have been for about two years, about a garden that’s a gateway of sorts (it’s also a library). No, this story has nothing to do with Alice in Wonderland and anyone who hasn’t read this article will never know the connection, but I do.
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