Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, probably one of the most imaginatively creative popular books of our time celebrated its 150th anniversary this year, a cornerstone of children’s literature and the inspiration for a thousand more it has no equal. A book full of humour, puzzling situations, lateral thinking, mathematics and wordplay enshrined in a wondrous world of surrealism and symbolism alike.
Last November I sat with my sketchpad trying to work out the details to what would have been the third Lost Impossimal collection – Revelation, the continuing story of murder and mystery spanning hundreds of years but my mind wandered. Idly I sketched out a Lost Impossimal divided between two worlds, Impossimal in looks but merged with Victorian imagery inspired by Punch annuals from 1899. What I should have created was a young Victorian girl wearing two types of clothing reflecting both sides of Victorian society, she was to be in a scene with one of my new characters centred around Spring Heeled Jack; a spark spitting, high jumping, red eyed creation from Victorian folklore.
Instead I had created Alice, not as we know her but rather as parts of Alice pulled together from other sources; almost an amalgamation of minds, a gathering of cherished stories, it all felt strangely familiar. It made me think; what if all creators of popular children’s fiction share one thing , what if Roald Dahl, L. Frank Baum, Norton Juster, Dr Seuss and a multitude of others had all mentally visited the same place in one form or another, a collective state of mind that goes one step beyond a dream.
What if that place was real and always there it’s just we lose the way to find it.
What if we could find a way back, what would we find now it’s been abandoned for all these years.
What if it was called Wonderland?
What if I could show you the way?
Wonderland needs you; Alice is not herself, in fact she’s ‘everyoneself’ as the Hatter calls it and it’s all got very confusing now several new doors have appeared.